France's Macron blasts 'ineffective' UK Rwanda deportation law

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France's Macron blasts 'ineffective' UK Rwanda deportation law
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made the Rwanda policy one of his flagship issues. Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said Britain's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was "ineffective" and showed "cynicism", while praising the two countries' cooperation on defence.


"I don't believe in the model... which would involve finding third countries on the African continent or elsewhere where we'd send people who arrive on our soil illegally, who don't come from these countries," Macron said.

"We're creating a geopolitics of cynicism which betrays our values and will build new dependencies, and which will prove completely ineffective," he added in a wide-ranging speech on the future of the European Union at Paris' Sorbonne University.

British MPs on Tuesday passed a law providing for undocumented asylum seekers to be sent to Rwanda, where their asylum claims would be processed and where they would stay if the claims succeed.


The law is a flagship policy for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government, which badly lags the opposition Labour party in the polls with an election expected within months.

Britain pays Paris to support policing of France's northern coast, aimed at preventing migrants from setting off for perilous crossings in small boats.

Five people, including one child, were killed in an attempted crossing Tuesday, bringing the toll on the route so far this year to 15 - already higher than the 12 deaths in 2023.

But Macron had warm words for London when he praised the two NATO allies' bilateral military cooperation, which endured through the contentious years of Britain's departure from the EU.

"The British are deep natural allies (for France) and the treaties that bind us together... lay a solid foundation," he said.

"We have to follow them up and strengthen them, because Brexit has not affected this relationship," Macron added.

The president also said France should seek similar "partnerships" with fellow EU members.



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