Macron: British government does not honour its word

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France, Europe, President Emmanuel Macron
French President- Emmanuel Macron

French president Emmanuel Macron has urged the UK to make it easier for people to apply for asylum and harder to work illegally, in a bid to stem risky migration efforts across the English Channel.

Mr Macron also accused the British government of reneging on promises over fishing licences and of betraying French-British friendship by signing a secret submarine deal with the US and Australia that scuppered a rival French contract.

The British government “doesn’t do what it says”, Mr Macron told a news conference.

The two countries “need to work together in good faith”, notably on migration, he said.

Thousands of migrants have departed from the French coast in recent months in small inflatable boats to try to reach Britain.

“Why are these women and men in these terrible conditions? Because they don’t want asylum in France,” Mr Macron said.

He urged Britain to create clearer paths to asylum to deter people from making the dangerous crossing.

He also said some migrants are attracted by a British economic model that “depends on illegal work by foreigners”.

Britain and France have accused each other of not doing enough to prevent the deaths of at least 27 migrants whose boat sank last month off the coast of Calais.

Mr Macron also said that France will decide with European Commission on Friday on the next steps in France’s fishing dispute with Britain.

A group of people thought to be migrants on a dinghy are approached by a border force boat

French fishermen are angry at the British government for not granting more licences to fish in UK waters after Brexit.

The fishing industry is economically tiny, but symbolically important for both Britain and France.

“I like Great Britain. I like its people,” Mr Macron said.

“I want terribly to have a government that wants to work simply in good faith.”

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