Channel migrants crisis won’t be solved by Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron’s gesture politics – The Yorkshire Post says

HOW insensitive can you get? In the week that saw at least 27 migrants drown in the English Channel, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron respond with tit-for-tat posturing that demeans both of their respective offices.

Life jackets, sleeping bags and damaged inflatable small boat are pictured on the shore in Wimereux, northern France, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Calais, northern France. Children and pregnant women were among at least 27 migrants who died when their small boat sank in an attempted crossing of the English Channel, a French government official said Thursday. (
Life jackets, sleeping bags and damaged inflatable small boat are pictured on the shore in Wimereux, northern France, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Calais, northern France. Children and pregnant women were among at least 27 migrants who died when their small boat sank in an attempted crossing of the English Channel, a French government official said Thursday. (

This saw France react to the PM’s letter to President Macron by withdrawing an invitation to Home Secretary Priti Patel to attend a meeting in Calais tomorrow of ministers from key European countries to discuss the crisis.

Insolence that is indicative of current Anglo-French relations, the tragedy is that this now unedifying diplomatic stand-off actually suits the political interests of both under-pressure leaders.

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In Mr Johnson’s case, it enables him to say that the current occupant of the Elysée Palace is being unreasonable. As for President Macron, this enmity will play well with French voters ahead of his re-election quest next year.

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron at the COP26 climate change summit.

But this fails to recognise that the migration crisis requires pan-European co-operation if the smuggling gangs orchestrating these highly-dangerous cross-Channel trips are to be deterred and lives saved.

And while Brexit continues to put a strain on relations with France and the rest of the European Union, this does not excuse – or justify – the escalating war of words that will only make it harder to tackle one of the defining humanitarian crises of these times.

As Mr Johnson said, Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU – and not Europe. Given this, there remains an onus on him to provide the statesmanship that this issue requires; statecraft that requires a far more nuanced response than the current gesture politics.

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Life jackets, sleeping bags and damaged inflatable small boat are pictured on the shore in Wimereux, northern France, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Calais, northern France. Children and pregnant women were among at least 27 migrants who died when their small boat sank in an attempted crossing of the English Channel, a French government official said Thursday.