SANDHURST, England (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday offered France 44.5 million pounds to strengthen security at French border controls, part of the measures to deepen the cooperation it hopes will encourage Goodwill in the Brexit talks.
In talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at Sandhurst, the training academy of British army officers, May tried to show that Britain still has much to offer France and other members of the European Union as it negotiates the departure of his country.
After a crab and duck lunch at the Michelin-starred Royal Oak pub in Maidenhead, southern England, where she is a local legislator, May and Macron observed an honor guard in Sandhurst before heading to the talks .
But despite the choreographed show of cordiality and the new agreements to be signed at the 35th Anglo-French summit, the proposals, including the loan from the 11th century Bayeux tapestry, failed in the British Eurosceptic media.
"What a stitch! Did you borrow the Bayeux Tapestry for Britain to lose 45 million pounds more to stop the immigrants in Calais?" Asked the Daily Mail, while the Sun was mocking the description of how William The Conqueror invaded England in 1066 as an EU story trying to prevent Britain from the block.
May has seen defense and security as one of Britain's strongest arguments for gaining influence in talks for Unravel more than 40 years of union But France and other member states have been cold by allowing Britain to avoid Brussels.
After lobbying from Macron for Britain to help with security in the Canal ports that have become In a focus for immigrants, London said an additional 44.5 million pounds would be sent to France to help improve fencing, CCTV and technology. a.
"comes to investing and improving border security in the UK," said a government spokesman.
"Just as we invest in our borders in the rest of the United Kingdom, it is right that we constantly monitor if there is more we can do at the border controls of the United Kingdom in France and Belgium to ensure that they are as safe as possible. "
A French official said this week that Great Britain had paid 140 million euros (£ 123.35 million) over the past three years towards border and security infrastructure, and some of the pro-Brexit lawmakers in May criticized the offer of more cash.
The move comes along with a series of cooperation agreements at a summit where both leaders want to discuss "shared interests and priorities" instead of Brexit, especially after the EU stepped up calls for Britain change its mind.
In a statement, May said that she was going to meet with Macron when Britain was preparing to leave the EU and that a "strong relationship" between the two countries was in the interest of all, now and in the future.
May's spokesman said attacks by militants in Britain and France underscored the need for cooperation, highlighted at Thursday's first meeting of the five heads of the British and French intelligence agencies.
The two are expected to commit to joint military operations, including a combined expeditionary force.
Britain will commit to sending three Chinook helicopters to Mali to support French counter-terrorism operations there and participate in a new European defense initiative. France has pledged to provide troops to NATO forces led by Britain in Estonia in 2019.
In general, attendees on both sides expect the summit to show the strength of the ties between the two countries, something that a French official said that it had become more important after the election of US President Donald Trump.
"We all share a slight concern about what is happening in the United States, and right now you feel the need to turn to people close to you to stay warm," said a French presidential adviser.
Edition of Richard Balmforth and Angus MacSwan