UK Government Hits Back At Emmanuel Macron In Ukrainian Refugee Row

The French president has accused Britain of not doing enough to help those fleeing war in their homeland.
picture alliance via Getty Images

The UK government has hit back at French president Emmanuel Macron after he accused Britain of not doing enough to help Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country.

Macron said Boris Johnson’s administration was failing to live up to its “grand statements” on refugees.

According to The Guardian, he said those who are seeking to escape Vladimir Putin’s brutal bombardment and settle in the UK should be “better treated” by the government.

“Despite all the grand statements… the British government continued to apply current rules that meant they did not welcome Ukrainian refugees who wanted to reach British soil saying they have to travel hundreds of kilometres in order to apply for a visa,” Macron reportedly said at an EU summit.

“I would hope that the Ukrainian men and women who have lived through horror and crossed Europe to reach their families on UK territory will be better treated.”

But a UK government spokesman rejected the French president’s accusations.

They told HuffPost UK that no other European country has “welcomed more refugees in recent years or [is] poised to accept more Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s brutal war over the next weeks and months”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has faced widespread criticism for her department’s response to the crisis.

The government is offering visas to Ukrainians with family members already in the UK, bu has faced accusations that the system is too slow and bureaucratic.

In a major U-turn on Thursday, Patel announced that from Tuesday people will be able to apply online for a visa and will no longer have to go to a processing centre to give their details.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is also set to unveil details of a separate scheme which will allow companies or individuals to sponsor Ukrainian refugees who want to move to the UK.

Meanwhile, the government has also denied reports that the prime minister has overruled attempts by Patel to introduce a more generous refugee scheme.

A spokesperson said: “These claims are untrue. The government is united and working at pace to deliver our new sponsorship route, which will allow individuals and organisations in the UK to provide accommodation and support for Ukrainian refugees.

“Earlier this week, we also set out changes to the family route to make the process for Ukrainians coming here quicker and simpler.”


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