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Rishi Sunak will discuss stopping Channel migrants with President Macron in Paris today – but the French leader is set to rebuff any pleas to take back those making the perilous crossing.

Mr Sunak arrived at the Elysee via the Eurostar this morning amid reports he is to pay France an additional £200million in a bid to stop thousands crossing the world’s busiest shipping lane. 

He later tweeted that the two nations were ‘close neighbours, great friends (and) historic allies’ as he seeks to repair cross-channel relations after a frosty five years.

But the pair are not expected to discuss a returns agreement under the deal when they meet in Paris. 

President Macron has already made clear that France would not be prepared to agree a bilateral treaty with the UK on the return of cross-Channel migrants, saying that any agreement would have to be EU-wide. 

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed more money would be handed to France for joint efforts to prevent small boats heading across the Channel.

Speaking from Paris, he told BBC Breakfast: ‘It will cost money, it has cost money and of course we will be negotiating how we fund that joint work to prevent those migration attempts across the Channel.’

Mr Sunak arrived at the  Elysee this morning amid reports he is to pay France an additional £200million in a bid to stop thousands crossing the world's busiest shipping lane.

Mr Sunak arrived at the  Elysee this morning amid reports he is to pay France an additional £200million in a bid to stop thousands crossing the world’s busiest shipping lane. 

The summit comes after a period of our Anglo-French relations. The nations have clashed over post-Brexit fishing rights and other issues. Mr Sunak's two predecessors also riled France with jibes at the alliance last year and part of his mission is to restore the entente cordial.

The summit comes after a period of our Anglo-French relations. The nations have clashed over post-Brexit fishing rights and other issues. Mr Sunak’s two predecessors also riled France with jibes at the alliance last year and part of his mission is to restore the entente cordial. 

Macron has already made clear that France would not be prepared to agree a bilateral treaty with the UK on the return of cross-Channel migrants, saying that any agreement would have to be EU-wide

The summit comes after a period of our Anglo-French relations. The nations have clashed over post-Brexit fishing rights and other issues. Mr Sunak’s two predecessors also riled France with jibes at the alliance last year and part of his mission is to restore the entente cordial.

Mr Cleverly told GB News: ‘I don’t know if I would go as far as to describe it as a bromance but there is a very strong professional relationship between the UK and France. We don’t agree on everything but we agree on a lot.’

Britain hopes to secure Macron’s active support at the summit for a long-term deal, similar to the EU’s existing ‘Dublin’ rules, to return illegal immigrants who cross the English Channel

But European diplomats said the request would be rejected at a time when France is accusing other member states, such as neighbouring Italy, of failing to take back migrants. 

Yesterday, interior ministers from France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands clashed with Italy, Greece and Spain over EU rules requiring them to take back migrants who entered the bloc when they arrived in their territories. 

One diplomat told The Times: ‘Why would Macron take back Brexit Britain’s returns, or ask others to do so, when other EU members, like Italy, are not following European rules? It will not happen. It is a pipe dream.’

It comes after Priti Patel has urged Rishi Sunak to use a summit with Emmanuel Macron today to push for a deal to let Britain return Channel migrants to EU countries.

The former home secretary said this was crucial to help end the small boats crisis as well as clear a huge backlog of asylum cases.

She urged the Prime Minister to capitalise on the goodwill created through a post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland to convince Mr Macron to broker a bloc-wide migrant returns agreement. 

Before Brexit, Britain could send asylum seekers back to countries such as Greece and Italy without considering their case if they lodged a claim there when arriving in the EU.

But UK ministers have not negotiated a replacement for the scheme, known as the Dublin III Regulation.

She urged the Prime Minister to capitalise on the goodwill created through a post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland to convince Mr Macron (pictured) to broker a bloc-wide migrant returns agreement

She urged the Prime Minister to capitalise on the goodwill created through a post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland to convince Mr Macron (pictured) to broker a bloc-wide migrant returns agreement

It means that thousands of asylum seekers are languishing in Britain who could potentially have been deported by now.

Ms Patel also took a swipe at her successor Suella Braverman’s plan for tackling small boats by saying that some measures springing from her own Bill, the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, still needed to be implemented.

Mr Sunak will travel to Paris today to meet the French president in the first Anglo-France summit for five years

In a sign of the importance being placed on it for rebooting relations, he will be accompanied by six Cabinet ministers, including the secretaries of state for foreign affairs, home affairs and defence.

Britain hopes to secure a long-term deal with the EU to return illegal immigrants who cross the Channel.

In exchange the UK would accept refugees from the EU.

But Elysee Palace officials in Paris have suggested Mr Macron will play hardball over the issue, with an agreement not expected because EU leaders want a bloc-wide deal.

Instead, Mr Sunak and Mr Macron appear to be on course to agree a long-term multi-million-pound deal to boost French beach patrols with extra surveillance and officers to smash people-smuggling gangs.

There is scepticism about whether it will provide value for money however because Britain has handed over nearly £200million to France since 2018 to tackle the small boats crisis – yet 45,728 migrants still arrived in Kent last year.

Ms Patel, who was home secretary from July 2019 to September last year, called on Mr Sunak to lobby Mr Macron to broker a returns deal using his key role in the EU.

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She said: ‘He needs to push for a returns agreement. The EU has been dragging its feet for too long. 

‘They all talk about an EU-wide returns agreement but actually the EU is not speaking with one voice.

‘But it’s about time they recognised there’s a global migration crisis and that everyone needs to work together to solve this, and Rishi needs to go and make that case.

‘There’s no one single solution to fixing illegal migration and stopping Channel crossings. 

‘But this is what he should be asking for and it would be key for returning people who have already travelled through a safe country and have no right to be here.

Before Brexit, Britain could send asylum seekers back to countries such as Greece and Italy without considering their case if they lodged a claim there when arriving in the EU. But UK ministers have not negotiated a replacement for the scheme, known as the Dublin III Regulation

Before Brexit, Britain could send asylum seekers back to countries such as Greece and Italy without considering their case if they lodged a claim there when arriving in the EU. But UK ministers have not negotiated a replacement for the scheme, known as the Dublin III Regulation

Mr Sunak will travel to Paris today to meet the French president in the first Anglo-France summit for five years

Mr Sunak will travel to Paris today to meet the French president in the first Anglo-France summit for five years

‘These crossings are dangerous, they’re illegal and we’ve seen the most appalling consequences because of them, so it’s right that the Government does everything possible to fix this.’

Other topics to be discussed today include collaboration on nuclear energy and the defence industry.

Among goodwill gestures set to be agreed is a deal to make school trips easier. Mr Sunak said: ‘Our deep history, our proximity and our shared global outlook mean that a firm partnership between the UK and France is not just valuable, it is essential.

‘From tackling the scourge of illegal migration to driving investment in one another’s economies, the work we do together improves the lives of each and every person in our countries.’ 

The PM’s spokesman said: ‘It’s important that we do secure a [returns] agreement with the EU, and France will be an important component of that.’

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