PARIS â€“ The ball is in the U.K.’s court to show that it’s ready to work with European neighbors to counter illegal crossings of the English Channel, according to a letter from French Prime Minister Jean Castex to his British counterpart Boris Johnson.
The U.K. and France have been locked in an escalating war of words in recent weeks over Channel crossings that hit its crux last week after a small boat capsized killing 27. But an adviser to Castex said Thursday that Paris wasn’t engaging in a blame game with London but rather an attempt at “shared responsibility.”
France is proposing developing a new cooperation framework between the EU and U.K. over migration, and will raise the issue at the upcoming European Council summit.
The adviser would not say if EU member states had reached a consensus amongst themselves over what they would like to agree with the U.K.
â€œThere are the basis of a new possible cooperation framework between the European Union and the United Kingdom. It is also up to your government to demonstrate its predisposition to do its part,â€ Castex wrote to Johnson.Â â€œFrance will approach the European Commission and member states… to kickstart discussions on this new framework to reinforce migration cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom.”
Castex also said that France could not accept the U.K. offer to have British police and troops patrolling the French coast, describing this as a matter of sovereignty, and warned the U.K. against pushing back migrants at sea, saying such a move would run afoul of the law of the sea.
France would nevertheless like to increase intelligence sharing with the U.K., he indicated.