France, UK working on new deal to combat illegal migration ahead of summit

© Ludovic Marin, AFP

France and Britain are working on a new deal to thwart migrants crossing the Channel, which could be agreed at a summit between leaders Emmanuel Macron and Rishi Sunak later this week, a French official said Wednesday.

Macron is set to welcome British Prime Minister Sunak to Paris on Friday for the first summit between the neighbours in five years.

Preventing migrants from crossing the Channel from France to Britain is set to be a leading topic of talks, with Sunak having made stopping migrant boat crossings one of his domestic priorities.

"We are in the process of finalising the terms of a strengthening of our operational cooperation," an aide to Macron told reporters on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The deal would focus on "increasing the resources deployed to manage this common border, with multi-year financing in order to improve the planning of human resources, equipment and infrastructure," the aide said.

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Britain agreed to pay France another 72.2 million euros ($74.5 million) under a deal last November that aimed to deploy an additional 350 people to detect and prevent migrant boat crossings.

The British government outlined a new draft immigration law on Tuesday that aims to deter migrants boarding dinghies to cross the Channel, one of the world's busiest shipping channels.

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