You need to do more! Macron points finger at EU after Channel migrant tragedy
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Pointing the finger at the EU Commission, the French President said that cooperation with Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and the EU must be strengthened to solve the migrant crisis in the Channel.
Mr Macron added that when illegal migrants have arrived by the shores of the English Channel, it is “already too late”.
The French leader made the comments after 27 migrants died when their dinghy deflated as they made a perilous crossing of the English Channel.
He said that French forces are “mobilised day and night to tackle the problem of illegal migrants”.
Speaking at a press conference in Zagreb, he said: “We need stronger European cooperation in this area. France is a transit country.
“I will also say very clearly that our security forces are mobilised day and night.”
France and Britain have traded blame over the worst accident of its kind on record in the waterway separating the two countries.
Ahead of talks with Home Secretary Priti Patel, French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the loss of 27 lives was an “absolute tragedy” as he blamed human trafficking gangs who promised people the “El Dorado of England” for a large fee.
Boris Johnson called on France to agree to joint police patrols along the French Channel coast, while French politicians pointed the finger at UK authorities for failing to tackle the issue.
READ MORE: France blames Britain for Channel migrant tragedy: Boris must do more
Pierre-Henri Dumont, the MP for Calais, rejected the Prime Minister’s proposal as a “crazy solution” that “will not change anything” along the vast shoreline.
Mr Johnson spoke to President Macron on Wednesday evening in the wake of the tragedy, with French officials saying pregnant women and children were among the dead.
Downing Street said the two men had agreed to “keep all options on the table” in their efforts to break up the human trafficking gangs responsible for putting desperate people at risk in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.
Mr Darmanin told French radio network RTL the smugglers are “criminals, people who exploit the misery of others, of women and children – there were pregnant women, children who died yesterday on that boat… and for a few thousand euros they promise them ‘El Dorado in England’.
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“And, sadly, this has been repeated every day for the last 20 years.”
A joint search and rescue operation by the French and British authorities that was launched after a fishing boat spotted people in the sea off France was finally called off late on Wednesday.
The dead were said to include 17 men, seven women, and two boys and a girl thought to be teenagers. One of the dead women was reported to have been pregnant.
Mr Darmanin said the boat which sank had been very flimsy, likening it to “a pool you blow up in your garden”.
He was unable to state the nationalities of the victims, but said the two survivors were Somali and Iraqi and had been treated for severe hypothermia.
The French authorities have arrested five suspected people traffickers in connection with the incident, and the French prosecutors’ office said magistrates are investigating potential charges of homicide, unintentional wounding, assisting illegal migration and criminal conspiracy.
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