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Britain agrees to pay France to stop migrants

Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed a new border security deal on Thursday, through which the UK will pay more to France to stop migrants trying to reach British shores.

The two leaders meeting for wide-ranging talks at the Sandhurst military academy near London, agreed that the UK will pay an extra £44.5 million (50 million euros, $62 million) for fencing, CCTV and detection technology in Calais and other Channel ports.

“The further investment we have agreed today will make the UK’s borders even more secure,” May said during a joint press conference with Macron.

While the two countries cooperate closely in numerous areas, including intelligence and defence, differences over migration have strained ties.

Migrants at the French port of Calais. Under the deal, UK will pay more to France to stop migrants trying to reach British shores from Calais / Photo: Screenshot

 

The money will be on top of more than £100 million already paid by Britain, following a request by Macron to contribute more cash.

The 35th UK-France summit came as Britain tries to strengthen bilateral ties before leaving the European Union in March 2019.

While Brexit was not scheduled for formal discussion, Macron said Britain’s decision to leave the European Union would lead to some “short-term uncertainties”.

The French president stressed that the new border agreement was a bilateral accord, separate from any EU divorce deal, aimed at managing the sensitive of immigration as hundreds of people continue to camp out in Calais.

The two countries currently abide by the 15-year-old Treaty of Le Touquet, which permits immigration checks within each other’s borders.

The new treaty signed at Thursday’s summit was intended to complement the 2003 deal, according to French officials.

© AFP

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