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France

Macron expected to ask Britain to pay more for Calais border

media French President Emmanuel Macron meets gendarme and police forces during his visit centered on migrants in Calais, France, January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Charlet/Pool

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday where he is expected to ask the UK to take in more refugees from the Calais area and increase its funding for securing the border.

In a closely watched speech in Calais, Macron promised a more orderly immigration policy with zero tolerance for camps like the Jungle, the squalid shantytown near the northern city's port that was once home to some 10,000 migrants dreaming of Britain.

"There will be no reconstruction of the Jungle and no tolerance for the illegal occupation of public space," Macron said in a speech at a Calais police station.

While the Jungle was demolished in late 2016, hundreds of migrants remain in Calais, trying night after night to stow away on trucks heading across the Channel to England.

France and Brexit

Macron also sought to reassure the fishing industry and business owners in northern France on over fears that Brexit will harm the local economy next year.

"I realise how much uncertainty there is in several economic sectors; fishing, industry, logistics," Macron said in a speech in the northern port of Calais, ahead of a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday.

A so-called 'hard border' with Britain could crimp the billions of euros' worth of goods that flow through the port each year, a grim prospect for local businesses and industry executives.

"No matter the changes to come and the relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, the territory will remain attractive in these areas," he said.

He said France would press its concerns with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who is scheduled to begin talks on an eventual trade deal with Britain in March.

"The region's interests will be fully taken into account in the negotiations that France will lead, and I will make our case known in March with our negotiator, Mr Barnier," he said.

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