Macron set to pressure Britain over Calais migrants


The government is hoping to pass new legislation that sets new rules to control the flow of migrants and updates asylum laws to speed up the processing of applications and deportation for failed candidates.

Interior minister Gerard Collomb said it was time for Britain "to take responsibility for a certain number of costs and for a greater number of people by virtue of the reception of refugees and lone children".

Gérard Collomb told French TV on Tuesday that he wanted the United Kingdom to pay more towards planned infrastructure improvements, citing the importance of the Calais port to British trade.

At stake is a 2003 agreement between Britain and France which effectively moved the United Kingdom border onto French territory, meaning the area around Calais has become a bottleneck where migrants heading for Britain wait.

Calais has always been a sore point in relations with Britain and ahead of his first trip to London as president on Thursday, Macron called for better cooperation in managing the border.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson, in turn, said that Le Touquet agreement was profitable for both countries.

Migrants regularly try to stow away on the hundreds of trucks crossing to Britain each day.

The president's trip is a foretaste of a tough new immigration and asylum bill to be presented to the Cabinet in February.

Macron called for
Macron set to pressure Britain over Calais migrants

The biggest group of applicants for asylum in 2017 consisted of Albanians, nearly all of whom will have their requests turned down because the southeast European country is considered safe.

Writing in Le Monde newspaper, they urged him to "live up to our ideals, to use your own words" and put an end to efforts that seek to dissuade asylum seekers from coming to France in the first place.

The migrant issue is set to become one of Macron's most tricky political tests because of splits in his newly formed Republic On The Move (LREM) party and public criticism from some of his closest allies.

Pisani-Ferry, Moderate Trade Union Chief Laurent Berger and other signatories wrote that Macron's commitment during the election campaign to the right to asylum had led them to hope for a presidency "marked by a proud and responsible humanism".

With 400 to 700 migrants there today, the situation is in many ways worse, said Francois Guennoc of the aid group Auberge des Migrants.

Mr Macron met with charities as well as migrants, although two NGOs refused his invitation over policing measures created to stop another makeshift camp forming. The camp was closed in 2016, but refugees have since started gathering there again.

An encounter with Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart may be his biggest challenge.

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