Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 19:58 UK

Brown and Sarkozy in pre-G8 talks

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Brown and Sarkozy meet ahead of G8

Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy have been discussing economic recovery and tension with Iran in talks ahead of this week's G8 summit.

The two leaders said relations between their countries were strong, following talks in the French town of Evian.

President Sarkozy said France stood "shoulder to shoulder" with Britain over attacks by Iran's rulers.

The UK has promised France £15m for border protection in return for help deporting immigrants, it was announced.

The prime minister is expected to warn leaders at the G8 summit in Italy against complacency when the economy is at a "pivotal point" and will raise concerns about oil prices going up, protectionism and bank lending.

Truly a force of nature
Gordon Brown on Nicolas Sarkozy

President Sarkozy said action was needed to find a way to reduce the volatility of oil prices - saying that big price changes were putting the pace of economic recovery at risk.

The two leaders lavished praise on each other in a joint news conference - Mr Sarkozy remarking that the April G20 summit in London had been chaired "remarkably" by Gordon Brown. Mr Brown in response paid tribute to Mr Sarkozy's leadership, saying he was "truly a force of nature".

The French president said there was a "total convergence" of views between Britain and France, while Mr Brown said the countries' relations had "never been better".

Mr Sarkozy said the two countries were united in expecting the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in September to be "far-sighted" and to get "hard and fast results when it comes to regulation".

Iran row

He also said they would work together to ensure progress on development, climate change and global warming at the G8 this week and would not settle for "way off" targets.

"We believe 2009 is a turning point in terms of regulation, new world governance and the battle against climate change and we will get things moving together," he said.

We were particularly shocked by the totally unfair disproportionate attacks and criticism
President Sarkozy

The French president said on Iran he wanted to be clear about where he stood saying "our British friends" could "count unreservedly on our support and solidarity - we will do whatever they want us to do".

"We were particularly shocked by the totally unfair disproportionate attacks and criticism," he said.

The prime minister replied that he was grateful for French "solidarity" on the issue and any response would be made in conjunction with EU partners.

He said they had been looking at how to stimulate economic recovery, particularly in working together on industries "of the future" - like low carbon production, electric cars and biotechnology.

He added that "radical reforms" agreed at the G20 still had to be completed.

In addition, he promised to push for measures against international tax havens with new sanctions from March 2010, at this week's G8, and expressed concerns the banks were still not lending enough.

"Both of us are worried that the banks have yet to respond in full to the situation that we have where industries and sectors are calling for help for the banks," he said.

"We have a duty to our populations to do what we can to maintain jobs and create new jobs in difficult times."

'Ring of steel'

Under a deal agreed at the summit, the UK will provide £15m to pay for new technology to search vehicles and goods approaching its borders.

There are estimated to be about 1,000 migrants in makeshift camps in Calais, most hoping to enter Britain illegally.

A pilot scheme will be conducted out at Calais before being rolled out to cover Boulogne, Dunkirk and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Coquelles.

In the House of Commons, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "The investment will be made on the understanding that the French will, in return, effect significant returns of illegal migrants from northern French regions."

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said the French had promised to step up removal flights and pledged that "these changes will further strengthen the ring of steel that protects Britain".

But shadow immigration minister Damian Green said the government had struck a bad deal for taxpayers.

He added: "We are apparently paying £15m so that the French agree to enforce their own laws. Surely they should be deporting illegal immigrants anyway?"

Meanwhile, in a parliamentary written answer, Mr Woolas said the UK government spent £26.8m on flights to remove immigrants in 2008/9 - including £18.6m for scheduled flights and £8.2m on charter services.



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