France has more combat aircraft, more frigates and more troops than Britain despite spending significantly less on defence, according to the military balance, an annual comparison of the strengths of armed forces around the world by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Close to 700 people in small boats were recorded on Monday to have clandestinely crossed the Channel to England from France, while the French authorities intercepted two boats carrying 70 people attempting the same journey.
The French government has announced a ban from Saturday on arrivals from the UK except for its nationals, others with official residency in the country and people who can justify 'essential' reasons for travelling in France, in a move prompted by the sharp rise in Britain of the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
In the wake of the loss of at least 27 lives in the sinking last week of a boat carrying migrants sailing from France to Britain, French interior minister Gérald Darmanin said the British government must 'open up a legal immigration route' because asylum-seekers have 'no other choice' than to cross the Channel in clandestine conditions.
A Scottish trawler has been intercepted and detained in Le Havre by the French authorities who said it was found fishing in the country's waters without a permit, a claim denied by the boat's owners, as a cross-Channel row over the number of post-Brexit licences given to French fishermen for trawling in UK national waters heats up.
People arriving in Britain from France as of Sunday will no longer be required to quarantine for 11 nights after a change to controversial travel restrictions introduced last month over the percieved high threat of coronavirus Beta variant carriers.
France is to reopen its borders with the UK, closed earlier this week over fears about the new variant of the coronavirus detected in England, but only to blocked truck drivers, French citizens and others resident in France, and on condition they present a negative result of a test for the virus, according to French media reports.
Personnel from a British and French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, created in 2010, have been taking part in a naval exercise off north-west Scotland as part of wider exercises under the umbrella of NATO.
French agriculture minister Didier Guillaume has warned newly appointed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that in the event of a hard Brexit there must be no refusal of access to Britain's waters for France's fishing industry.
In May this year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a motion that condemned British rule over the remote Indian Ocean archipelago of the Chagos Islands and which gave London a six-month deadline to return their sovereignty to Mauritius. That followed an advisory judgment in February by the International Court of Justice that Britain’s annexation of the islands after Mauritian independence in 1968 was illegal. Central to the case is the brutal deportation of islanders to make way for a US military base on the archipelago, at Diego Garcia. As Julien Sartre reports, the developments also have ramifications for France, whose occupation of Indian Ocean islands, notably those surrounding its former colony Madagascar, is under heightened dispute.
French farmers' union, the FNSEA, has voiced its concern at the possibility of a withdrawal from the EU by the UK, to which France exports a yearly 3 billion euros-worth of agricultural goods, without a trade deal.