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TravelGuides – Emmanuel Macron ‘calls Boris Johnson a ‘clown’ and Britain a ‘circus’ in diplomatic broadside’

TravelGuides – Emmanuel Macron ‘calls Boris Johnson a ‘clown’ and Britain a ‘circus’ in diplomatic broadside’

Emmanuel Macron declared Boris Johnson a ‘clown’ and called Britain a ‘circus’ during a furious briefing with advisors amid the Channel migrant crisis, a French magazine has claimed.

The French President called Mr Johnson a ‘good for nothing’ and slammed his conduct during the sausage wars, fishing row and nuclear submarine affair, insiders told the highly respected investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaine (The Chained Duck).

Mr Macron’s furious outburst came during a trip to Croatia last Thursday – the day after 27 migrants drowned in the Channel in one of the worst disasters on record. 

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Le Canard writes: ‘As soon as he arrived in Zagreb on 24 November, Macron spoke to Boris Johnson on the phone about the tragedy in Calais.’

During this conversation, Mr Macon’s advisors learned that the Prime Minister had already used Twitter to publish ‘a letter he had just sent to Macron, which Macron had not yet been able to read.’

Mr Macron was incensed about this, and told advisors in Zagreb: ‘Bojo talks to me, he’s down to earth, everything’s fine, we’re having grown-up discussions and then he sticks it to us either beforehand or afterwards in an inelegant manner. It’s always the same circus.’

Mr Macron, a massive opponent of Brexit, also blamed Britain leaving the EU as the ‘starting point’ of ongoing tensions between the UK and France.

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According to Le Canard, Mr Macron said: ‘Very quickly, Boris Johnson realised that the situation was catastrophic for the British. There’s no petrol in the pumps, there’s a whole bunch of stuff missing. He positions himself as a victim, he makes France a scapegoat, he tries to turn every simplistic situation into a complex problem. We have been in this situation since March.

‘He has done this on the sausage war, on fishing and on the submarine affair [in which France lost a multi-billion pounds submarine contract to build boats for Australia to the USA and UK].’

Mr Macron is then quoted as saying of Mr Johnson: ‘In private, he says he is sorry to act this way, but he admits that above all he must respond to public opinion.’

It is then that Mr Macron said: ‘It is very sad to see a great country, with which we could do so much, led by a clown. Johnson has the attitude of a good-for-nothing.’ 

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The PM’s spokesman said he had not seen the report, however, he added: ‘The important thing the public on both sides of the Channel want us to do is focus on how we avoid further loss of life.’ 

Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson smile together as they pose for pictures in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome during the G20 summit on October 31

The Prime Minister poses with a pair of 'Build Back Better' gloves on in a boxing gym in Manchester

PM pulling a face at the Downing Street Briefing Room in September

The Prime Minister poses with a pair of ‘Build Back Better’ gloves on in a boxing gym in Manchester in October (left) and pulling a face at the Downing Street Briefing Room in September

Johnson during a visit to Westport Care Home in Stepney Green, east London, on September 7

Johnson stepping out of a digger at the Sunbelt Rentals stall in the Manchester during the Tory party conference in October

Johnson during a visit to Westport Care Home in Stepney Green, east London, on September 7 (left) and stepping out of a digger at the Sunbelt Rentals stall in the Manchester during the Tory party conference in October (right)

Emmanuel Macron called Boris Johnson (outside Downing Street on Wednesday) a 'clown' and a 'boor' after the PM shared a letter he had written to the French PM on Twitter calling on him to take back migrants who land in the UK

Emmanuel Macron called Boris Johnson (outside Downing Street on Wednesday) a ‘clown’ and a ‘boor’ after the PM shared a letter he had written to the French PM on Twitter calling on him to take back migrants who land in the UK

'It is sad to see such a great country ... governed by a clown, a boor,' Macron (pictured outside the Elysee Palace on Wednesday) said, according to Le Canard

‘It is sad to see such a great country … governed by a clown, a boor,’ Macron (pictured outside the Elysee Palace on Wednesday) said, according to Le Canard 

The letter posted by Mr Johnson on Twitter outlined British proposals to set up joint patrols and a new bilateral agreement to allow for the immediate return of those who cross the Channel.

Mr Macron publicly branded the demands and the online release of the letter as ‘not serious’.

It prompted his government to bar Home Secretary Priti Patel from an emergency meeting of ministers from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to discuss the migration crisis last Sunday.

The Elysee Palace today refused to comment on the Canard story.

Gerald Darmanin, France’s Interior Minister, on Monday said that France was ready to begin discussions if the British entered talks in a ‘serious spirit’. 

The number crossing the Channel has surged to 25,776 in 2021, up from 8,461 in 2020 and 1,835 in 2019, according to Home Office data.  

This despite Miss Patel pledging £55 million to Paris in June to help France patrol the border – the latest in a long line of similar lump sums provided by the UK taxpayer.   

Mr Macron last Friday warned the Prime Minister to ‘get serious’ if he wanted to tackle the crisis.

The French President added: ‘One leader does not communicate with another on these questions on Twitter, nor by public letter’.

In turn, Mr Johnson has said he has no regrets about publishing the letter to President Macron on Twitter. 

While Britain accuses France of failing to stem the flow, France claims that once migrants reach the shores of the channel, it is too late to prevent them crossing.

French police routinely tear up the camps that spring up between Calais and Dunkirk. Evictions at the Grande-Synthe site where evictions took place on Monday have been frequent over the last few weeks, according to one charity worker. 

The new arrivals bring the total number to have made it to the UK this month to more than 6,000, exceeding the previous record of 3,879 in September. This year's total is now a record-breaking 25,772

The new arrivals bring the total number to have made it to the UK this month to more than 6,000, exceeding the previous record of 3,879 in September. This year’s total is now a record-breaking 25,772

This is the first picture of the flimsy and dangerous dinghy that sank off Calais, killing 27 people

This is the first picture of the flimsy and dangerous dinghy that sank off Calais, killing 27 people

Policemen inspect the beach near Wimereux, France on November 25, 2021

Policemen inspect the beach near Wimereux, France on November 25, 2021

Police search Wimereux beaches near Bolougne days after 27 migrants died heading to the UK

Police search Wimereux beaches near Bolougne days after 27 migrants died heading to the UK

How many UK-bound migrants have died trying to cross the Channel this year? 

Before this week’s accident, a total of seven people were confirmed to have died trying to make it across the Channel to Britain this year. 

A further seven migrants were missing, presumed drowned, after various incidents this year.

March 2021: One migrant missing and feared drowned after the boat he was in trying to reach the UK capsized.

August 2021: At least two migrants drowned off the coast of the UK while another died after being airlifted to hospital as part of a huge air and sea rescue operation after a boat carrying around 40 people began taking on water. 

October 2021: Three Somali migrants feared to have drowned after falling overboard while trying to reach Britain. A further four people, including two children, died while crossing. 

November 2021: One migrant dies in day of record 853 crossings in early November. Yesterday, at least 27 migrants died off the coast of Calais in the deadliest ever incident in the Channel.

 

The migrants are typically transported to holding centres scattered across the country where they are encouraged to file for asylum, though many quickly make their way back to the Channel coast.

Hussein Hamid, 25, an Iranian Kurd, said it was the second time he had been evicted. On the first occasion, he was bussed to Lyon 500 miles to the south.

Hamid tried to leave the camp swiftly by foot, carrying a backpack, but said the police had blocked any way out.

An Iraqi Kurd told Reuters by text message that he was hiding nearby while the police conducted their operation.

‘I’ll come back if the don’t find me,’ he said, requesting anonymity to avoid police reprisals.

The report on Mr Macron’s fiery comments in Zagreb comes as Mr Johnson stepped up lobbying efforts on Tuesday for a returns agreement with Europe as a way to stem the flow of small boats crossing the Channel. 

In a meeting with his Belgian counterpart, the PM pushed for the creation of a UK-European Union returns agreement for failed asylum seekers in a bid to crackdown on people smuggling in the wake of dozens dying while attempting to cross the strait last week.

Downing Street, in its account of a video call on Tuesday with Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo, said Mr Johnson ‘stressed the importance of breaking the business model of people traffickers by establishing a UK-EU returns agreement and using all the modern technology at our disposal’.

A No 10 spokeswoman added: ‘The leaders agreed that recent tragic incidents underscore the need to make urgent progress in this area.

‘The Prime Minister reaffirmed the UK’s desire to work together with Belgium and other European partners to achieve this, and the leaders agreed their respective ministers should meet soon to progress this work.’

It comes after France said it would put forward proposals for tackling the Channel migrant crisis, with the country’s interior minister suggesting talks with the UK could resume following a diplomatic spat.

Migrants gather as French police officers dismantle their makeshift camp at Loon Beach near Dunkirk on Tuesday

Migrants gather as French police officers dismantle their makeshift camp at Loon Beach near Dunkirk on Tuesday

Migrants from the Middle East and North Africa are booted from their squalid camp near Dunkirk on Tuesday

Migrants from the Middle East and North Africa are booted from their squalid camp near Dunkirk on Tuesday

Migrants were camped along disused railway tracks and beside canal near Dunkirk

Migrants were camped along disused railway tracks and beside canal near Dunkirk

Armed cops clear the migrants from the camp on Tuesday

Armed cops clear the migrants from the camp on Tuesday

The camp torn up today was at Loon Beach - the same place where the 27 doomed migrants who drowned last week set off from

The camp torn up today was at Loon Beach – the same place where the 27 doomed migrants who drowned last week set off from 

Mr Darmanin has said prime minister Jean Castex will be writing to Mr Johnson on Tuesday with proposals for a ‘balanced agreement’ between the UK and the EU.

Downing Street has continued to insist a returns agreement, as set out by Mr Johnson in a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron last week that infuriated Paris, would be the ‘single biggest deterrent’ to migrants attempting the sea journey.

A returns agreement with the European Union would allow the UK to send people back to the member state where their journey had originated from, such as France or elsewhere, if their asylum claims are rejected after arriving in Britain.

London pushed for such an agreement during the Brexit talks but Brussels turned the offer down.

The option is likely to be argued for again by the UK Government should talks with France and other European nations about the migrant issue resume.

Mr Darmanin has said discussions could take place ‘very quickly’ if the British are prepared to enter negotiations in a ‘serious spirit’.

A Government source said it appeared to be a ‘positive’ move after the diplomatic row which erupted following the capsize of a migrant boat with the loss of 27 lives on Wednesday.

TravelGuides – Emmanuel Macron ‘calls Boris Johnson a ‘clown’ and Britain a ‘circus’ in diplomatic broadside’

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