France-UK summit: €22mn for migrants, €2bn for drones
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The UK will contribute around €22 million in extra funding to address the migrant crisis in Calais, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced following a security summit with French President François Hollande in France Thursday.
Cameron pledged the money to help the French authorities deal with the thousands of migrants at the “Jungle” camp attempting to get to the UK from Calais, adding to the more than €60 million Britain has already contributed.
The extra money will be used for security, shelter for migrants and help with returns, Cameron said following his meeting with Hollande in the northern French city of Amiens.
The talks at the 34th annual Franco-British security summit were dominated by the migrant crisis and the issue of a possible British exit from the European Union ahead of a June referendum on the issue.
The French president reiterated at a joint press conference that he wants the UK to stay in the EU and warned of "consequences" for immigration and the UK economy if it left.
"I don't want to scare you but to tell the truth, there will be consequences... the way in which we manage migration issues," Hollande told reporters.
Hollande’s comments on Brexit came after the outspoken French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron sparked a row when he raised the possibility of camps similar to the ‘Jungle’ springing up on Britain's southern coastline if it leaves the EU.
He told the Financial Times that Brexit would scupper an agreement between the two countries that allows Britain to conduct border controls on the French side of the border.
"The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais," Macron told the newspaper.
Along with Cameron, Hollande also called for unaccompanied children in Calais’s “Jungle” refugee camp who have relatives in Britain to be "quickly" reunited with them. Cameron agreed that the system had to work "better, more speedily".
€2 billion drone deal
The immigration crisis was not the only topic up for discussion, with the two European leaders signing a deal to invest €2 billion in a project to build a next-generation drone prototype at the summit, as they seek to increase security and military ties.
“This programme ... will be based on a multi-role drone platform that could serve as a basis for future operational capacity after 2030,” the two countries said in a statement. “We plan to invest €2 billion in this programme with a technical assessment towards 2020."
France and Britain, both permanent veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council, are currently engaged in air strikes targeting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq.
The Future Combat Air System project to develop the most advanced drone of its kind in Europe builds on a multi-million euro feasibility study undertaken in 2014.
Britain's BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, along with France’s Dassault Aviation, Safran and Thales of France, are all taking part in the programme.it
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