The European Commission has rejected French president Emmanuel Macron’s call for an EU-wide agreement for migrants crossing the Channel illegally to be sent back to Europe.
Brussels has no plans to negotiate a migrant return deal with Rishi Sunak, despite improved relations after the new Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland.
“The European Commission is not envisaging an asylum returns agreement with the UK right now,” an EU official told the Telegraph.
The Prime Minister and Mr Macron agreed a deal to tackle the small boats crisis, which will cost the UK £470 million over the next three years, at a summit in France last Friday.
The French president insisted any returns deal would have to be made at EU level, rather than between Paris and London, as the two leaders tried to rebuild relations badly strained by Brexit.
The UK left the EU’s Dublin Regulation, which gives the right for countries to send back illegal migrants to the first safe EU country they landed in, at Brexit.
Brussels is responsible for negotiating EU-wide agreements on behalf of its member states and is the only body able to strike a replacement return deal.
EU officials have now ruled out a deal for the short to medium term.