Bloomberg Editorial: UK and Europe must cooperate on migrants | Globalism

It has been two weeks since a group of 27 migrants died trying to reach the UK from France when their boat capsized in the English Channel. Far from banding together to confront their common crisis, the two countries have since devoted themselves to blaming each other, exchanging insults and ignoring much-needed reforms. If you want to prevent the next tragedy, reason must prevail quickly.

In the wake of the fatal incident on November 24, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron – and further comments on Twitter – declaring, among other things, that migrants arriving in the UK from France are France’s responsibility. And they have to do it. It is returned immediately.

Offended by form and substance, Macron withdrew an invitation to a British official to join talks on the issue. Later, French ministers announced that immigration was “First of all the problem of the English languageGreat Britain was accused of toleratingmodern slavery“.

Regardless of the insults, the dispute combines two flaws.

The first is the lack of an effective common policy on migrants between the EU and its neighbours. The so-called Dublin Convention (which is no longer binding on the UK after Brexit) specifies the processing of asylum claims to the country in which migrants first arrive, but the EU has not yet established a system to make this requirement work. The costs of border protection and admission of skilled migrants are equitably shared.

Britain is no longer a member of the European Union, but says it wants to be a partner anyway. In this case, you must be fully involved in the effort to meet the challenge. EU ministers say they want a deal and the UK should want the same. The starting point for negotiations cannot be:We have nothing to do with it“.

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The second flaw is the apparent determination, on both sides, to make Brexit too big of a mess. Britain’s decision to leave the EU was a grave mistake from the start, but the two sides can still, as a matter of long-term mutual interest, make best use of it or, as a matter of short-term political subjectivity. , make the situation worse.

Unfortunately, Johnson and Macron’s latest position indicates that they prefer the latter option. They seem to agree that there is no middle ground between being a full member of the European Union, with all its obligations and perks, and being completely separate. This is not the way a pragmatic alliance should work.

Dealing with migrants is just one of many areas where the UK and EU need to work closely together. And the sooner both sides realize this, the better.

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