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France: British exit from EU would send refugees over border

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   March 3, 2016 at 7:29 AM

PARIS, March 3 (UPI) -- Britain's proposed European Union departure means a French migrant camp on the English Channel would relocate to Britain, France's economic minister said.

Emmanuel Macron said the Le Tourquet agreement, a bilateral relationship allowing British and French customs officers and police to operate on each other's territory to process refugees would be threatened.

If Britain left the EU, Macron said France would allow refugees at a large encampment in Calais, France, known as "The Jungle," to travel to Dover, in Britain.

The comments are the latest prediction of what will occur if Britain leaves the EU. "Euroskeptics" suggest immigration to Britain would reverse, Britain would be freed from the economic burden of following EU rules of commerce and taxpayers could save billions. Those seeking to save Britain's EU membership counter a "Brexit" could lead to economic uncertainty that would cost jobs, difficulty in freedom of travel around Europe, and an outflow of businesses and capital.

Prior to an Anglo-French summit meeting Thursday, Macron told the Financial Times, "The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais."

Macron's comments concur with British Prime Minister David Cameron's prediction the camp would move to Britain if it dissolved its EU membership, which could occur after a June referendum on the matter. Cameron was accused of "scaremongering," and Macron is the first French minister to confirm it could happen.

Xavier Bertrand, president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region of France, which includes Calais, commented, "If Britain leaves Europe, right away the border will leave Calais and go to Dover. We will not continue to guard the border for Britain if it's no longer in the European Union."

Macron also said France would roll out "a red carpet" to bankers and businesses involved in EU commerce, if Britain leaves the EU, a reversal of Cameron's 2012 comment that Britain would welcome French banks and businesses after it raised taxes.

"If I were to reason like those who roll out red carpets, I would say we might have some repatriations from the city of London," Macron said.

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