Boris Johnson's five demands to France in bid to prevent another Channel tragedy

The five steps include joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches and working immediately on a bilateral return agreement with France

Boris Johnson wrote to Emmanuel Macron (

Image: Xinhua / REX / Shutterstock)

Boris Johnson has written to the French President to set out five steps to prevent the canal from being crossed and avoid repeating the tragedy that left at least 27 lives.

Some of the demands he makes include joint patrols and an Anglo-French readmission agreement under which all who cross the canal will be sent back.

The five steps are – joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches; Use of more advanced technologies such as sensors and radar; mutual sea patrols in each other’s territorial waters and aerial surveillance; Deepen the work of our joint intelligence cell with better real-time information sharing to allow for more arrests and prosecutions on both sides of the Channel; and work on a bilateral return agreement with France immediately, as well as discussions on the conclusion of a return agreement between the UK and the EU.

Mr Johnson told Emmanuel Macron: “If those who reach this country were brought back quickly, the incentive for people to put their lives in the hands of human traffickers would be greatly reduced.

Letter from the Prime Minister to Emmanuel Macron
He posted the letter on Twitter

“This would be the biggest single step we could take together to reduce the attraction to northern France and break the business model of criminal gangs.

“I am confident that, by taking these steps and building on our existing cooperation, we can combat illegal migration and prevent more families from suffering the devastating loss we experienced yesterday.”

Seventeen men, seven women and three teenagers died on Wednesday when their rubber dinghy deflated the English Channel, one of many of those risky journeys made in small, overloaded boats by people facing poverty and war in Afghanistan, Iraq and moreover flee.

Mr Johnson spoke about Wednesday’s tragedy


Xinhua / REX / Shutterstock)

President Emmanuel Macron defended the Paris action


Ronald Gorsic / HM CROPIX / SIPA / REX / Shutterstock)

The deaths deepened hostility between Britain and France, who were already falling out over Brexit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said France was to blame and French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin accused Britain of “poor immigration management”.

Given the strained relationships, the focus on Thursday was primarily on guilt, even if both sides promised to seek common solutions.

Both sides have vowed to find common solutions



President Emmanuel Macron defended the Paris move but said France was just a transit country for many migrants and that more European cooperation was needed to tackle illegal immigration.

“I will … make it very clear that our security forces are mobilized day and night,” said Macron on a visit to the Croatian capital Zagreb and promised a “maximum mobilization” of the French armed forces with reservists and drones monitoring the coast.

“But above all we have to seriously strengthen cooperation with Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the European Commission.”

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