France to push reforms on migration during EU presidency

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France will push for action on migration when it hosts the European Union presidency from January, President Emmanuel Macron has emphasised.

In an interview with La Voix du Nord newspaper, Macron said that the influx of migrants was creating a difficult situation for residents of the French port city of Calais.

"We must take several actions: prevent the establishment of lasting camps, act to dismantle the smuggling networks and strengthen work with the countries of origin to prevent these flows.

"I will undertake reforms in the framework of the French presidency of the European Union."

France will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union just as the bloc is confronted by a new crisis, with Belarus engineering major migrant flows

The longstanding dispute has intensified in recent days between France and Britain after record numbers of migrants crossed the Channel to reach England from the French coast – with London accusing Paris of not doing enough to stop them.

British figures show, 1,185 migrants crossed the English Channel last Thursday – a new record that smashed the previous daily high of 853.

French authorities say about 15,400 migrants have crossed the Channel between 1 January and 31 August, of whom 3,500 were rescued "in distress" and brought back to France.

'Collaboration'

In July, Britain agreed to give an additional 62.7 million euros to France for border security, adding to the hundreds of millions provided over the last 15 years to boost security around Calais and other ports.

"We have the British, who oscillate between partnership and provocation," Macron said, adding: "We must step up collaboration".

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

(with newswires)

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