Macron claims Brexit has ‘impoverished’ the UK in squabble with Downing Street

French President Emmanuel Macron claimed Brexit had ‘impoverished’ Britain   (AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron claimed Brexit had ‘impoverished’ Britain (AP)

French President Emmanual Macron has claimed that Brexit has “impoverished” the UK and failed to solve its country’s immigration problems.

“Brexit has impoverished the United Kingdom,” he told The Economist. “Brexit has done nothing to solve immigration in the UK.

“Well, despite that, some people think it doesn’t look so bad. But nobody dares to say that anything is wrong. And so nobody is taking responsibility for anything.”

Britain and France have been at pains to work together to curb the number of migrants crossing the English Channel from the northern French coast over the last few years.

While Rishi Sunak hopes his Rwanda proposal will deter migrants from wanting to come to the UK, he also announced in March 2023 that Britain would give France £500m over three years to stop migrants from crossing the channel in the first place.

The money would go to funding French border guards, as well as video surveillance cameras, drones and night-vision binoculars.

But recent investigations by The Independent have found that French border guards have actually been contributing to the decisions of migrants to head on to the UK.

“I have to go to the UK because France is not accepting us,” said one Afghan refugee on the French coast. “The worst is that every few weeks the police are coming and destroying our tents and blankets everything, and then we just have nothing in the rain.

“I just want to work and have a safe life. We want a peaceful life, we hope we can have that in the UK because we do not have it here. Why this endless torture of ripping apart our tents every few weeks?”

A spokesperson for Mr Sunak hit back at Mr Macron’s comments, saying that Britain was “leading the pack” against illegal immigration.

The spokesperson said: “Clearly, as a long-time Brexiteer, he [Mr Sunak] would not agree. We left the EU to get control of our borders and in doing so that’s how we’re leading the pack with our partnership to break the model of the criminal gangs.”

He added: “In terms of the economy, I point you to our track record. Britain is now the fourth largest exporter globally, overtaking France.”