France has warned Britain it expects them to pay more for border security and to take more asylum seekers post Brexit.
Britain’s border was extended into France under a 2003 bilateral treaty known as the Le Touquet accord. But a migration crisis and the Brexit vote to leave the European Union have made the arrangement an increasing source of friction.
The deal will be on the table on Thursday when President Emmanuel Macron holds talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May at a Anglo-French summit in southern England.
Asked if concrete announcements are expected at the talks, the source said: “Yes. But is it all finalised? Absolutely not.”
‘Lots of pressure on the UK’
France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, who has taken the lead on talks, was quoted by the Le Parisen newspaper on Sunday saying he hoped an “additional protocol” to supplement the Le Touquet accord could be agreed upon.
His comments indicated Macron has dropped a campaign promise to renegotiate the Le Touquet accord in full.
“We’re still negotiating. There is back and forth. Nothing is locked in yet. The British have shaken on nothing but there’s a lot of pressure on them,” said the official familiar with Collomb’s thinking.
If no deal can be struck, France could tear up the Le Touquet accord and the two countries would have to reinstate borders on each side of the English Channel, the source said, adding that this was not in the interest of either side.
“Our understanding is that they will pay more. The question is how much and for what,” said the source, adding that the two sides are in daily contact ahead of the summit.
“We have let them know of our needs and a figure, we’re talking tens of millions of euros.”
So what is in Le Touquet treaty?
Signed at a summit between President Chirac and Tony Blair in 2003, it provided for France and Britain to erect juxtaposed border controls in Channel ports. This effectively moved the French frontier to Kent and the UK frontier to Calais.