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18 Jan, 2018 07:23

May caves over Calais: France dangles prospect of Brexit support and UK hands over £44.5m for border

May caves over Calais: France dangles prospect of Brexit support and UK hands over £44.5m for border

The stage is set for a stormy 35th UK-France summit at the Sandhurst military base. Having dispensed with the formalities, Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May are expected to engage in intense negotiations over the cost of the border.

Early on Thursday, it emerged that Britain's Prime Minister will give in to demands made by the young French president over cash for Calais, reports ahead of the summit said.

The two allies will meet at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, Surrey, Thursday.

May and Macron are expected to publicly praise each other for their bilateral trade success' and strong military alliance. Cracks in the allies' facade are becoming apparent, however, with Macron reportedly using future advocation of a beneficial UK-European Union trade deal as a carrot to get May to pay more on Calais. 

READ MORE: 'We will not be blackmailed': MEP demands May fight Macron on migrants & money (VIDEO)

Macron had been threatening to tear up a 15-year border deal unless Britain takes hundreds more migrants and pledges more money.

Le Touquet Treaty

Macron has been attempting to overhaul the Treaty of Le Touquet. He vowed during his election campaign to renegotiate the 2003 agreement. Under the accord, borders at sea ports in France and the UK are patrolled by each others' police. Meaning, the border for the UK is in Calais, and the border for France in Dover.

However, since thousands of migrants became trapped in France while attempting to reach the UK, Macron’s camp have called for change. French politicians claim they are forced to police Britain’s borders and are enforcing the UK's migration rules at a high cost.

Macron asked for more cash, a refurbishment of border control facilities and for the UK to accept hundreds more migrants. And May will give in.

Reports ahead of the summit said May will offer a further £44.5m in support.

This brings the total UK spend in Calais, after the cost of the wall and extra security to close to £500m.

He will also insist the asylum process is sped up to kick migrants out of France and into the Britain. If the PM refuses, Macron could rip up the agreement altogether.

It's believed he will offer support for the UK’s free trade agreement with the EU in return.

With love from Paris: The big Bayeux Tapestry bribe

France will attempt to sweeten a potential agreement with the UK by giving London something it wants. For centuries there has been a disagreement on where the Bayeux Tapestry belongs. The famous work, British scholars argue, was made in Kent, England. But France has not let it leave Normandy in 950 years, though now, in a diplomatic gesture, Paris is preparing to loan the world famous work to London.

The tapestry, which depicts the Norman conquest of England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, will reportedly travel across the Channel with Macron’s approval. An Elysee official said the loan was agreed in principle but would not take place for around five years, subject to a number of tests. The move will demonstrate – the leaders will claim – the strength of Anglo-French relations, while behind closed doors May will face a battle between giving in to Macron's demands and gaining his support or refusing and making another 'Frenemy' on the continent.

Doing battle.. together?

Defence will be a pivotal part of talks – especially given the apt military setting of Sandhurst.

Seven ministers or secretaries of state covering defense, interior, foreign and European affairs, Europe, culture, economy and ecology, are accompanying Macron, providing confirmation of the areas that France will want to explore.

French officials said Anglo-French ties “must not be weakened” by a deal made by the EU, describing Britain as a “vital” defense partner. Despite this claim, the European Union, with Macron's support, is leaning towards the creation of an EU army. It's unclear how the UK could work alongside a separate fighting force on the continent after Brexit.

Paris said both countries would discuss “defence, intelligence and security… The pillar of bilateral relations."