Correspondent in Paris
Emmanuel Macron, your Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, and the French fishermen’s associations responded this Thursday with verbal and diplomatic vigor to Boris Johnson, inviting you not to “instrumentalize” a dramatic human situation and a catastrophic economic situation.
On Wednesday night, after the deaths of around thirty people trying to reach the United Kingdom by sea, the French president launched his first personal volley against the British prime minister: ‘France will not allow the English Channel to be become a graveyard. ‘ Addressing Johnson personally, Macron insisted with this solemn warning: “No one should instrumentalize a dramatic situation for political purposes.”
The French President and the British Prime Minister are
they loathe anything cordially. Macron believes that Johnson is an untrustworthy character, who has tried time and again to deceive France, putting together ‘numbers’ that range from scandalous to demagogic propaganda.
Macron and Johnson have crossed paths without success in several multilateral meetings, never finding the balance point that allows a constructive diplomatic dialogue. Hence the penultimate warnings of the French president. Macron denounces the political “use” of a human tragedy for lowly political ends. It is a language of unusual and brutal frankness on the diplomatic scene.
Sitting that cardinal principle from the head of the State, Gérarld Darmanin began to move the basic diplomatic pawns: convening an intergovernmental meeting, in France, in Calais, with the Belgian, German, Dutch and British ministers of the interior and immigration, accompanied by representatives of the European Commission. On the French side, it is a matter of insisting on the continental dimension of the problem. Multilateral dialogue, to avoid the dialogue of the deaf between Paris and London.
At Sunday’s meeting, several French, British, Belgian and German proposals should be studied, starting with the launch of common French-British entry police patrols, to try to prevent the multiplication of humanitarian tragedies, which have taken on disturbing dimensions. Without solving the underlying problem, it could be a temporary measure, trying to limit an atrocious problem. Many humanitarian organizations claim that the English Channel runs the risk of becoming a “graveyard, like the Mediterranean.”
London and Paris coincide on a sensitive point: to denounce in unison the actions of criminal groups specialized in the human trafficking. Humanitarian organizations, for their part, denounce the behavior of the British and French governments. The French government wants to achieve a common effort from the EU, reinforcing the border control mechanisms.
The crisis of migratory movements across the English Channel between France and the United Kingdom has very deep roots, and coincides with the always unresolved crisis of the fishing licenses. At the end of October, Emmanuel Macron threatened to “close” or “block” the entry of British goods into Europe through French ports if Boris Johnson’s government did not fulfill its commitments by granting the licenses promised to French fishermen. That threat caused a sensitive diplomatic crisis. Three weeks later, the fishing license crisis remains unresolved. And French fishermen announce “actions” in various ports, such as Calais, Ouistreham and Saint-Malo, this weekend.
Throughout Friday the French fishermen will proceed to blockade English merchandise that should or should be distributed in France and other countries on the continent.