France's Macron seeks more cooperation with United Kingdom on migration

British Prime Minister Theresa May with French President Emmanuel Macron at an EU summit last year                  REUTERS  Yves Herman

Macron will ask Britain to accept more of the children when he visits London on Thursday - and provide more money to deal with undocumented migrants.

Calais has always been a sore point in relations with Britain and ahead of his first trip to London as president on Thursday, Macron called for better cooperation in managing the border.

"A large majority of migrants in Calais do not want to stay in France".

"It's a delicate mission and for it you must be exemplary and in absolute respect of professional ethics and absolute respect of the law".

Many migrants want to try to enter illegally into Britain and remain in and around Calais.

Macron struck a tough tone in response, saying he would punish excessive use of force by police if proven true, but dismissed some of the allegations as "lies" and said the government would sue for slander any unfounded claim.

She believes the so-called Le Touquet agreement, which states Britain and France will share the costs of patrolling the port, works in our favour.

Mr Macron talked briefly with Sudanese migrants at the centre in Croisilles, home to 63 people.

He added: "There will always be migrants who want to go to England". "But in the three [reception centres] around Calais that we run the rate is nearly 70%", he added.

The French government is drafting a new migrant policy, to be unveiled next month, which includes speeding up the application process for asylum-seekers and faster removal of those who fail to be accepted.

Immigration authorities, meanwhile said that 100,412 asylum requests were lodged in France in 2017, up by 17 per cent on the previous year. A further 85,000 people were reportedly stopped at French borders and refused entry to the country.

NGOs have accused Macron, who campaigned for president previous year as a champion of open borders, of betraying France's long tradition of offering sanctuary by drawing a strict line between those fleeing war or persecution and so-called "economic" migrants.

Hundreds of migrants are still massed in the area, over a year after the former Socialist government demolished the Jungle, a squalid makeshift camp in Calais, and moved its more than 7,000 occupants to shelters nationwide.

Pisani-Ferry, Moderate Trade Union Chief Laurent Berger and other signatories wrote that Macron's commitment during the election campaign to the right to asylum had led them to hope for a presidency "marked by a proud and responsible humanism".

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