Published on :
The British government offered France, Thursday, joint police patrols on the French coast along the English Channel, the day after the death of 27 migrants in the sinking of their boat.
The British government said Thursday, November 25, to offer France joint police patrols on the French coast along the Channel after the death of 27 migrants in the sinking of their boat.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday evening, Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to “step up their efforts” and “keep all options on the table” to fight smuggling gangs organizing illegal crossings of the Channel, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
British Immigration Secretary of State Kevin Foster stressed that London was ready to offer France additional “means” beyond its financial aid, such as the helicopter deployed on Wednesday as part of the rescue operation.
“We are ready to offer support on the ground, we are ready to offer resources, we are ready to offer, literally, people to go there and assist the French authorities,” he said on the statement. BBC. “It is not in anyone’s best interests for this to continue.”
Kevin Foster indicated that the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, would meet in the morning with his French counterpart, Gerald Darmanin.
According to Tom Pursglove, another Secretary of State responsible for immigration, Boris Johnson reiterated during the telephone interview a proposal, previously rejected by Paris for reasons of sovereignty, to organize Franco-British patrols on the French coasts in order to prevent migrants from boarding.
“I really hope that the French will reconsider this proposal,” he told the BBC on Wednesday evening.
This question of crossings, which regularly stirs up tensions between London and Paris, is delicate for the Conservative government of Boris Johnson, which has made the fight against immigration its hobbyhorse in the wake of Brexit.
Following a crisis meeting on Wednesday, Boris Johnson had pointed the finger at the French, believing that they had not done “enough” to prevent the crossings, despite aid of more than 60 million euros for strengthen the surveillance of their coastline.
“What we are proposing is to increase our support but also to work with our partners on the beaches concerned,” he declared.
I am shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by the loss of life at sea in the Channel.
My thoughts are with the victims and their families.
Now is the time for us all to step up, work together and do everything we can to stop these gangs who are getting away with murder. pic.twitter.com/D1LWeoIFIu
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 24, 2021
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the deadliest involving migrants in the Channel to date, several British newspapers are pointing in the same direction, the tabloid The Sun publishing on the front page the photo of a French police patrol leaving, doing nothing according to him , migrants boarding an inflatable boat.
But on the BBC, the Pas-de-Calais deputy Pierre-Henri Dumont (LR) described the strengthening of beach patrols as a “crazy solution”, pleading for collaboration between the two governments to find “real solutions” , such as allowing migrants to apply for asylum even if they are not in the UK.
“Is it really the moment to point the finger? (…) Is it the moment not to fight together against these traffickers?”, Reacted the French deputy Bruno Bonnell, of the LREM party of President Macron.
“Out of 30,000 people trying to cross the Channel, 60% were arrested,” he told Sky News, admitting that was insufficient. But “it happens at night on small beaches. The police cannot be everywhere, let’s be realistic,” he added.