French President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly called British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a clown, according to press articles released Thursday in Europe.
The French head of state was said to have used that kind of language during a private Nov. 24 conversation with his advisers after Johnson released a letter outlining a plan to address migration issues and the English Channel tragedy, in which 27 immigrants died.
It is sad to see that an important country with which we could do a great number of things is run by a clown, the French president reportedly said while highlighting Johnson's allegedly vulgar attitude. Macron also regretted 10 Downing Street always responded to important diplomatic questions with the same circus, amid worsening relations sparked by the migrant crisis, according to the French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine.
According to the outlet, Macron said: BoJo talks to me, full speed, everything's going well. We have grown-up conversations, but he strikes me before and after as having an inelegant way about him. It's always the same circus.
Macron reportedly added: It's sad to see such a great country, with which we could do so much, led by a clown.
The disparaging speech came after British PM press officials insisted that Johnson and Macron had a close working relationship, following former French ambassador Sylvie Bermann's joke on Times Radio that ties had not been as bad since Waterloo.
A letter from Johnson to Macron last week is said to have infuriated Paris so much that France has turned down the UK's invitation to join weekend talks with other European ministers to discuss the flow of people crossing the Dover strait.
A returns agreement with the European Union would allow the UK to send people back to the member state where their journey had originated from, such as France or elsewhere, if their asylum claims are rejected upon arriving in Britain. London has pushed for such an agreement during the Brexit talks but Brussels turned the offer down.
British officials have expressed their disappointment at Macron's alleged words.