Britain presses France to halt ‘unacceptable’ migrant crossings

Updated 12 Aug 2020

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DOVER (United Kingdom): Migrants are being brought to Dover harbour by security personnel on Tuesday. — Reuters
DOVER (United Kingdom): Migrants are being brought to Dover harbour by security personnel on Tuesday. — Reuters

PARIS: A British minister on Tuesday pressed France to intensify efforts to halt the “completely unacceptable” numbers of migrants crossing the English Channel in often unseaworthy small boats.

Immigration Minister Chris Philp met French officials in Paris as concern grows in London over the numbers of migrants entering British waters from France.

“French authorities are doing a great deal of work ... but the sheer numbers crossing the Channel are completely unacceptable. Unacceptable to the French government and unacceptable to the UK government,” Philp told reporters. “So it’s quite clear that more needs to be done,” he said.

He added the countries were working on a comprehensive action plan “with the objective in mind of completely cutting this route.” Britain’s right-wing Conservative Party government has looked to increase pressure on France to prevent migrants coming into UK waters.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said illegal migrant crossings were “very bad and stupid and dangerous”, adding they needed to be stopped in cooperation with France.

“We are committed to taking action to make this route — facilitated by dangerous criminals — completely unviable and that is an objective the French government shares,” said Philp.

British Interior Minister Priti Patel and French counterpart Gerald Darmanin signed an agreement last month creating a new joint police intelligence unit to combat migrant traffickers, but it is unclear whether this has had any impact.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2020