- Written by Chris Mason and Kate Whannell
- BBC News
The Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said before an Anglo-French summit that France would get more money to prevent small boats from crossing the Channel.
Mr Cleverly traveled to Paris with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.
Small boat crossings will be on the agenda, as will the conflict in Ukraine.
No deal is expected to be reached on returning migrants who reach the UK to France.
However, when asked if the UK planned to give more money to France to help police French beaches – where most small boats leave – Mr Cleverley said: “It’s going to cost money, it’s cost money”.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said the two countries would discuss how to fund joint efforts but would not speculate on the outcome of those talks.
The Times It has been reported The United Kingdom will give France more than 200 million pounds sterling over three years.
Last year, the UK agreed to pay France £63m annually to increase monitoring of French beaches.
The British government believed that the money sent to France to step up the patrols was well spent and wanted to go further.
But both London and Paris acknowledge there will be no agreement as France takes back migrants who have reached the UK.
The French government is believed to favor a UK-EU deal, which is frustrating for British diplomats who would like to see faster action.
“We want a return agreement between the EU and the UK and we will push that forward,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.
“But it is equally important that there is action on the ground right now to stop the crossings that we are seeing even in these winter months.”
“At this point, due to Brexit, there is no readmission agreement between France and the UK,” said a French government source.
The Labor Party said the lack of a new agreement to return migrants to France was “an abject failure”.
It is believed that Mr. Sunak and Mr. Macron will meet for about half an hour.
Interior Minister Soella Braverman and Environment Minister Therese Coffey will also join the prime minister on the trip.
Under the plans, anyone found to have entered the country illegally would not only be removed from the UK within 28 days, but would also be barred from returning or claiming British citizenship in the future.
Those who reach UK shores are either repatriated, or another “safe third country” such as Rwanda.
The British government feels that the relationship with their counterparts in Paris on this issue has improved significantly in the past two years.
But Downing Street’s desire to “make the little boat route across the Channel unviable” is a bold ambition – especially given that numbers proving the opposite have continued to rise.
So far this year, some 3,000 people have arrived on small boats, but the two governments claim their joint action has prevented a similar number from embarking.
Announcement is expected to deepen cooperation on this issue, not a major breakthrough.
Mr Sunak said: “From tackling the scourge of illegal immigration to driving investment in each other’s economies, the work we do together improves the lives of everyone in our countries.
Moreover, the United Kingdom and France also have a distinct role as advocates of European and global security.
Officials note that both the United Kingdom and France are nuclear powers, members of the Group of Seven, the Group of Twenty, the defense alliance NATO and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Brexit has been a cornerstone of the relationship between the United Kingdom and France in recent years.
London and Paris are keen to stress their closeness on many other issues, not least of which is Ukraine.
The prime minister and the president will host a press conference on Friday afternoon and issue a joint statement.
It’s a month of particularly intense activity between the two countries – King Charles and the Queen Consort will be in France in a few weeks.
Next year marks the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, which ended centuries of rivalry between the two countries.
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