a new agreement signed between France and the United Kingdom to combat the crossing of the Channel

France and the United Kingdom signed a new agreement on Monday (November 14) to fight together against the passage of migrants from the Channel, a source of ongoing tensions between Paris and London for several years, the French Interior Ministry said.

This agreement, which is part of the Sandhurst Treaty, signed in January 2018 between the two countries, provides in particular that the British pay 72.2 million euros in 2022-2023 to France. In return, the latter will increase its security forces (350 extra policemen and gendarmes, including reservists) by 40% on its beaches, where migrants leave for the UK, according to the joint statement by the two countries.

In the document, signed Monday morning in Paris by the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, and his British counterpart, Suella Braverman, there is no quantified target for the interception of boats, as the United Kingdom wanted, according to the overseas press. . “Only by working together can we hope to solve this complex problem. I wanted to thank Gérald and his team for their work and collaboration “has tweetedin French, Mmyself brave man.

The deal comes the day after the UK Ministry of Defense announced an unprecedented number of migrants who have crossed the English Channel since the start of the year – over 40,000.

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“Propose safe alternatives”

In this text, London and Paris have set themselves the goal of deployment “Technological and human resources”including drones, on the French coast to better detect, monitor and intercept boats.

Both countries also want to collect and use intelligence, including “By intercepted migrants”to better dismantle smuggling networks and discourage crossings through joint work “as soon as possible”, in connection with the countries of origin and transit of the exiles. To achieve these three objectives, a dozen targeted actions “A more integrated and efficient approach” are listed.

For the first time, teams of observers will be deployed on both sides of the Channel “strengthen common understanding” between the two countries, “improve the conduct of migrants’ debriefings” And “increase the exchange of information”.

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The agreement also provides for funding for “detection dogs” in ports and the installation of surveillance cameras at the main border crossings along the coast. Reception centers for migrants must also be created in the south of France to dissuade exiles crossing the Mediterranean from returning to Calais and their “provide safe alternatives”.

If the former British ambassador to France believes this deal is ” Good news “ from ” the only way to keep the problem under control is to work with the French. ” the British NGO Refugee Council regrets this “It does not address the factors that drive men, women and children to undertake dangerous journeys to reach the UK”. The Franco-British agreement “so he won’t do much to put an end to the crossings”concludes the NGO on Twitter.

Years of fighting

The signing of the text takes place almost a year after the death of 27 migrants, which occurred on November 24, 2021, when their boat sank off Calais, the worst drama recorded in the English Channel. According to the International Organization for Migration, since 2014 more than 200 people have died or disappeared, at sea or by land, in an attempt to reach England from the northern coast of France.

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After years of sometimes bitter quarrels over the migration issue, particularly when Boris Johnson and Liz Truss were prime ministers, the new British executive has adopted a more conciliatory tone with the French government, calling for a closer relationship. “constructive”.

In the UK, the ruling Conservative party has made immigration control a priority since Brexit, but is struggling with the exponential curve of illegal crossings. In France, Gérald Darmanin, accused by the right and the far right of not sufficiently deporting foreigners banished from the territory, will present a bill at the beginning of 2023 aimed at tightening asylum procedures. “We are intercepting many more than before (over 30 thousand migrants so far in 2022, compared to 22,600 in 2021)” And “We are allocating 255 million euros” for the safety of the coast, we discuss on the French side.

The world with AFP

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