France calls on Britain to stop ‘teaching lessons’ to migrants as record numbers cross the Channel

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France on Monday asked Britain to stop “teaching” migrants in an increasingly acrimonious row between London and Paris over the number of people crossing the Channel.

“Britain is not in a position to teach us lessons,” Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin told Cnews television ahead of talks with his British counterpart Priti Patel on Monday later.

Britain “should stop using us as a punch bag in its domestic politics,” he added.

The long-running conflict has intensified in recent days after a record number of migrants crossed the Channel to England from the French coast, with London accusing Paris of not doing enough to stop them.

The tensions have added to a litany of post-Brexit tensions between Britain and France that also include a dispute over fishing rights that has threatened to escalate into a full-fledged trade war.

In an unusually blunt criticism of France’s neighbor, Darmanin hinted that it was the British government’s fault that so many migrants wanted to cross the Channel.

He accused British militants based in northern France around Calais and Dunkirk of obstructing the work of the security forces.

“I remind my British counterpart that the NGOs which prevent the police and gendarmerie from working are largely British NGOs with British citizens who are on French soil,” he said.

He added: “The smugglers, who organize networks and exploit women and children, are very often based in Great Britain”.

He also argued that migrants were encouraged to leave for Britain because its labor market was partly based on “irregular workers employed at low prices”.

“If the British changed their legislation very drastically – and they did, but not enough – people would no longer be in Calais or Dunkirk” while waiting for a chance to cross the Channel, he said.

“We are the victims of British politics. We must not confuse this,” he said.

According to British figures, a total of 1,185 migrants crossed the Channel on Thursday – a new record that shattered the previous daily record of 853 – due to cold but calm weather.

Three people who tried to cross by canoe were reported missing on Friday.

Britain called the figures “unacceptable”.

(AFP)

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