The tragic accident, which claimed the lives of twenty-seven migrants on Wednesday 24 November when crossing the Channel to the coasts of Great Britain, tears relations between London and Paris, which mutually impute the responsibility drama. The tension rose a notch on Friday, November 26, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made public a letter to Emmanuel Macron, in which he asked in particular that immigrants arriving in the United Kingdom be returned to France .
Denouncing both the substance and the form of this letter, the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, then withdrew his invitation to an international meeting on migrants from his British counterpart, Priti Patel. The event will take place, but in the presence only of the Belgian, German and Dutch ministers, as well as the European Commission.
It is this last information which appeared, Friday, with the “one” of the principal titles of the British press, between a sober “Uninvited Priti Patel” of the center-left daily The Guardian and the “Fury” by Gérald Darmanin on the tabloid website The Sun. The pro-European media The Independant consecrated him, a long article on the subject, relating in particular to the statements of Labor Nick Thomas-Symonds who considers that the publication of Mr Johnson’s letter was “Clearly a huge mistake”.
The progressive press scolds the British government
Part of the British press goes further, calling on the UK government to change its migration policy. The Guardian thus highlighted, Friday, a forum signed by the boss of the NGO Refugee Council, Enver Salomon, titled “The terrible deaths in the Channel Sea show that the United Kingdom needs a more humane asylum policy”. Mr. Salomon accuses in particular the government of Boris Johnson of having “Chosen to speak out and act harshly, taking an uncompromising position” instead of “Show compassion, humanity and understanding”.
In another article, a journalist from Guardian tries to explain that the situation is ” more complex “ that the British accusations against France of “Not to do enough”. And to estimate that “Politics, security and repression alone will not solve the problem of refugees risking their lives to find asylum in the UK”. Dissertant on the same idea, the centrist newspaper The Economist estimated Friday that the accident « expos[ait] how the UK fails[ait] in its management of migrants ”.
Above all, “Reducing the number of deaths will require cooperation between the United Kingdom and France”, writes the economic media. “Migrants who reach Britain have the right to seek asylum”, he continues, regretting that “The drownings shed light on the human cost of what has so far only been discussed in terms of pure electoral calculations”.
“Consequence of the failure of the French police”
If these media tend to point to British responsibility in the current diplomatic and migration crisis, others, more conservative, side with the government. The tabloid newspaper The Sun – criticized for its sensationalist coverage of the news – relayed Friday a platform of the Conservative MP, Tim Loughton, blaming all the blame for the tragedy on France and its police.
“The sad truth, in my opinion, is that today we need a lot of equipment [pour empêcher les migrants d’accoster au Royaume-Uni], because of the failure of the French police to control its coast ”, asserts the deputy, pushing Mr Johnson’s proposal to send British border guards to prevent departures from French beaches.
THE SUN: Shameful #TomorrowsPapersToday https://t.co/InxS4IJVIa
The media had also created the controversy, Thursday, by publishing to its “one” the photograph of a French police truck watching, without acting, migrants launch their makeshift boat. The image was intended as proof that the French law enforcement agencies would not “All they can” to prevent migrants from sailing to the UK. The Guardian explained that the truck in the photo had however surrounded the migrants, as recounted Reuters agency. “A woman holding a baby in her arms stood in front of the vehicle screaming. The police car stopped ”, specifies the agency. An information confirmed at Release by the Pas-de-Calais prefecture – where the photo was taken – which explains that the risks associated with “The presence of children (…) brought [les policiers] to reconsider an intervention “.
Likewise, the curator Daily Mail estimate that Paris acted like a discontented child on Friday excluding London from the meeting scheduled for Sunday. The tabloid uses the idiomatic expression « to throw your toys out of the pram » (literally “Throw the toys out of the pram”) to qualify the French response to Boris Johnson’s public letter, a document that the newspaper qualifies for its part as “Plan to avoid another tragedy in the English Channel”.