Monday 22 October 2018

French president urges more UK funding for Calais

Emmanuel Macron insisted France is doing “everything” to prevent migrants from illegally entering the UK.

Mr Macron shakes hands with Ahmed Adam, from Sudan, during his visit to a migrant centre (AP)
Mr Macron shakes hands with Ahmed Adam, from Sudan, during his visit to a migrant centre (AP)

By AP reporters

French president Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to negotiate with the UK over better police co-operation to handle migrants in the French port of Calais – and is also seeking more money from Britain to help develop the city.

Mr Macron is visiting the northern city, where many migrants attempt to sneak across the Channel.

In a speech to security forces in the city, Mr Macron also said he wants the UK to take in more unaccompanied minors.

Mr Macron is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Theresa May in Sandhurst on Thursday.

He said France is doing “everything” to prevent migrants from illegally entering the UK, insisting: “Calais is not a back door to England.”

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Emmanuel Macron laughs during his visit to a migrant centre in Croisilles, northern France (AP)

The city is the closest point between France and Britain, with two cross-Channel transport systems, the Eurotunnel and ferries.

Mr Macron also addressed allegations of police brutality against migrants in Calais, saying sanctions will be applied in cases of abuse.

He urged French police forces to be “exemplary” when dealing with the hundreds of migrants staying in and around the city.

Mr Macron said: “I cannot let the idea spread that some police forces use physical violence, confiscate personal belongings, wake up people in the middle of the night and use tear gas on water points when meals are distributed.”

If true, such behaviour will be sanctioned, he said, adding that any false allegations against police will be investigated.

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Mr Macron pledged to investigate claims of police brutality (AP)

Some local associations helping migrants have accused police of sometimes being violent with migrants.

Mr Macron added that the French state is going to handle food distribution for migrants in the same way that it is already providing health care.

In a speech, the French president thanked non-governmental associations for all their help to take care of migrants who are staying in the region.

At the same time, he warned associations against trying to encourage people to stay out of migrant centres.

Mr Macron suggested some associations lie to migrants by telling them police are waiting at the centres.

“This lie … works against our efficiency”, he said.

Some migrants stay out of the centres because they do not want to apply for asylum in France, instead trying to cross the border to Britain.

Press Association

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