Increasing Tensions between UK and France: Macron’s Critique of Brexit and the Rwanda Bill

On Monday, April 22, the UK Parliament approved a bill to transfer refugees to Rwanda. This approval paves the way for the legal transfer of asylum seekers who have entered the UK illegally, regardless of their point of entry.

The enactment of this law has sparked significant criticism both within and outside the UK. Macron’s critique of Brexit and the Rwanda bill is due to the violation of European values. This article explores the approval of the deportation bill and France’s critical reaction.

Increase in illegal immigration to the UK in the new year

In recent years, thousands of migrants have reached British shores through the English Channel using small boats provided by people smugglers. Many have fled wars in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The number of foreign immigrants reached a record of 45,000in 2022. Then, in 2023, it decreased to 30,000 people. The number of people who illegally crossed the English Channel by boat has increased by more than 20% since the beginning of the year compared to last year.

The severe start of the immigrant deportation project in Sunak’s government

The text, discussed in the UK Parliament on Monday, April 22, was in line with the answer to the Supreme Court, which had assessed this text as illegal last November. The project to deport immigrants was announced two years ago by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s conservative government. This project was presented as a landmark measure in Sunak’s policy to combat illegal immigration. The purpose of this law is to transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The provisions of the new resolution of the UK Parliament

Stopping the wave of illegal immigration is one of the priorities of Sunak’s government. According to the new law, some of the UK’s human rights laws do not apply to the transfer of asylum seekers to Rwanda. British judges must consider Rwanda a haven to overturn a High Court ruling outlawing the scheme.

The preparation of the UK government to deport immigrants

Rishi Sunak said his government is ready to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda within 10 to 12 weeks of the law being passed. The British legislators wanted Rwanda to be considered a safe country once an independent monitoring body ensured that it was safe. They also wanted British agents, allies, and employees abroad to be exempted from deportation to Rwanda. Among these people are Afghans who fought alongside the British armed forces.

Defining Rwanda as a safe third country

The House of Lords delayed the final approval of the text of Sunak’s proposed law by constantly sending it with amendments to the House of Commons. The representatives systematically rejected this plan—a manoeuvre known as Parliamentary ping-pong. The Sunak government’s plan defines Rwanda as a safe third country. Rwanda presents itself as one of the most stable countries on the African continent. On the other hand, the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is accused of ruling in an atmosphere of fear, suppression of opposition, and freedom of expression.

Domestic and foreign criticism of the deportation of immigrants from England

Critics say the plan to transfer refugees to Rwanda is inhumane. The Labor Party has criticized the UK government’s bill. Also, immigrant aid associations, the head of the Church of England, and even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, have strongly criticized the bill. The UN special rapporteurs on human trafficking, migrant rights, and torture have warned that airlines and authorities facilitating the flights in question may be complicit in human rights abuses. Macron’s critique of Brexit and the Rwanda bill is accompanied by global criticism against the UK.

Macron’s critique of Brexit and the Rwanda bill

The French president criticized this move a few days after the UK Parliament approved the law to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda. Macron called the approval of the law to send migrants to Rwanda a “betrayal of our [European] values”. On Thursday, April 25, Emmanuel Macron expressed this criticism in a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris. “This model that some people want to put in place, which means that you go and look for a third country, for example, in Africa, and send our immigrants there,” he said. He emphasized: “This is a betrayal of our values and will lead us down the path of new dependencies on third countries.”

Macron’s renewed criticism of Britain’s exit from the European Union

Macron’s critique of Brexit and the Rwanda bill profoundly negatively impacts the relations between the UK and France. According to the Guardian, Macron did not directly refer to Rishi Sunak’s plan in his remarks but criticised Brexit again. According to him, Britain’s exit from the European Union was “an explosion whose negative effects, from what I can tell, have meant that today nobody dares to propose exits, neither from Europe nor from the euro.”

History of Macron’s criticism of Brexit

Previously, Macron had repeatedly criticized Brexit and the UK’s exit from the European Union. French President Emmanuel Macron said a few years ago that Brexit is the product of “lies and false promises”. After leaving the European Union, Macron said that Britain would remain a friend and ally. However, he questioned strengthening the country’s sovereignty after leaving the European Union. Macron also emphasized that the fate of France still depends on Europe.

Increasing tensions in Anglo-French relations

Macron’s critique of Brexit and the Rwanda bill is due to the destructive effects of British policies. Macron criticizes British actions in the field of foreign policy. Macron has criticized Britain’s policy of deporting immigrants to Rwanda. He believes that the actions of the UK government are not the right way to solve the problem of immigrants. He has repeatedly rejected Brexit. According to Macron, Brexit caused a change in British politics. Macron’s increasing criticism of the British immigration policy can increase tensions between France and the UK.

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