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EU blocks Channel migrants return-to-France deal


The European Union has told Britain it is not willing to negotiate a migrant returns deal, according to reports.

A leaked memo shows a senior aide to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ruled out an agreement earlier this year.

Rishi Sunak wants a deal to deter migrants from making the dangerous journey across the Channel in small boats.

But Cabinet Office notes of a meeting last summer show German politician Bjoern Siebert told Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's national security adviser, that the bloc was not open to a pact.

The Prime Minister has pushed for a bilateral returns agreement with Paris, but French President Emmanuel Macron has insisted any deal must be at an EU level.

Meanwhile the bloc is dealing with its own internal rows over migration and returns reforms.

A Government source said: "The EU can’t even agree a migration deal between themselves so it’s no surprise they aren’t willing to discuss a readmissions agreement with us.

"Even under the Dublin Agreement we took more people than we sent the other way."

Any deal would likely come with the condition that Britain shares in Europe's effort to resettle hundreds of thousands of migrants entering the EU illegally, including by boat to Italy and Greece.

It comes as more than 100,000 people have made the dangerous journey across the Channel in rubber dinghies from France since 2018.