Britain and France escalate war of words after dozens drown in Channel tragedy
November 25, 2021 at 12:02
(CNN) British and French leaders have ramped up a war of words over dangerous crossings of the English Channel after at least 27 people died making the sea journey Wednesday, bringing to a head simmering tensions in the migration crisis.
Ministers from both sides of the Channel on Thursday laid blame with their counterparts after dozens of people -- including a young girl -- drowned in bitterly cold waters off the French coast when their inflatable vessel bound for Britain sank.
It is one of the largest losses of life in the English Channel in recent years.
French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson both expressed horror at the tragedy, with Macron saying his country would not let the Channel become a graveyard.
The leaders agreed to step up joint efforts to prevent the migrant crossings -- which have increased dramatically this year -- but also accused each other of not doing enough.
In a phone call on Wednesday night, Macron went further and urged Johnson to stop politicizing the migrant crisis for domestic political gain, according to a French readout of their conversation.
On Thursday morning, the finger-pointing continued among junior politicians.
Police seal off the area around the rescue operation at France's Calais harbor on November 24.