Macron criticises Sunak’s Rwanda plan as politics of ‘cynicism’ and a betrayal of European values | EUROtoday

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French president Emmanuel Macron has denounced Rishi Sunak’s plans to ship asylum seekers to Rwanda because the politics of “cynicism” and a betrayal of European values.

The French chief additionally warned it might be “ineffective”, just days after the scheme – designed to give thousands a one-way ticket to the African country – cleared its final parliamentary hurdle.

The prime minister has pledged to get planes in the air within weeks, a move he argues will create a deterrent effect and stop people trying to reach the UK in small boats.

But he was urged to rethink his plans by the United Nations and others earlier this week after five people died off the coast of northern France while trying to cross the Channel.

The UK pays France millions of pounds to support policing at the French coast, designed to stop migrants setting on the perilous journeys.

In a wide-ranging speech on the future of the European Union at Paris’ Sorbonne University, Mr Macron said he did not “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.”

“We’re creating a geopolitics of cynicism which betrays our values and will build new dependencies, and which will prove completely ineffective,” he added.

Asked about the comments, home secretary James Cleverly said: “Migration, by definition, is international. And the solutions will by definition will be international.”

Stressing he was not talking about Mr Macron’s remarks, Mr Cleverly went on to attack the “distasteful” and “lazy criticism” of Rwanda’s role in the partnership.

He said: “It’s not as well blessed with natural mineral resources as some of its regional neighbours.

“And it is thinking creatively about how it can be part of the solution to a really serious global problem.

“And we are entering a partnership with this country. And as part of that partnership, there is a transfer of money.”

And Mr Cleverly said those arguing Britain should not have “a grown up commercial relationship with African countries” are in effect saying the UK should see them “exclusively through the prism of aid recipients”,

“What message is that sending to developing countries?” he said.

However, the French president did praise the military co-operation between the two countries.

“The British are deep pure allies (for France) and the treaties that bind us collectively… lay a stable basis,” he said.

“We should observe them up and strengthen them, as a result of Brexit has not affected this relationship,” Macron added.

France should seek similar “partnerships” with fellow EU members, he added.