France, UK sign deal to stop asylum seekers crossing Channel | Migration News

The new agreement aims to see more police patrols in France in an attempt to stop people trying to cross the English Channel to Britain.

The interior ministers of France and Britain have signed an agreement that will see more police shores in northern France in an attempt to stop people trying to cross the English Channel in small boats – a constant source of friction between the two countries.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and British Home Secretary Suala Braverman signed the agreement in Paris on Monday.

The British government has agreed to pay France about 72.2 million euros ($75 million) in 2022-2023 – almost 10 million euros ($10.3 million) more than under an existing deal – in exchange for France increasing its defense presence by 40% through access to the sea . points on the beach.

This includes 350 more gendarmes and police officers guarding beaches in Calais and Dunkirk, as well as greater use of drones and night vision equipment to help officers spot crossings.

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The agreement contains proposals to combat crime across migration routes, with the two ministers agreeing that their countries will collect information from asylum seekers they intercept to help tackle smuggling networks.

A specific target for intercepting boats was not included in the agreement.

Jump in patrol numbers

British Prime Minister Rishi Sonk said the deal would mean “a 40 percent increase in the number of patrols taking place, and for the first time, British officials have joined French operations to strengthen the coordination and effectiveness of our operations.”

According to him, the agreement will be “a basis for even greater cooperation in the coming months.”

Britain accepts fewer asylum seekers than many European countries, including Italy, France and Germany, but thousands of people from around the world travel to northern France every year in the hope of crossing the Channel.

Some want to come to the UK because they have friends or family there, others because they speak English or because they think they will be able to find a job there.

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In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people trying to cross the channel in boats and other small vessels, with the authorities holding back in other ways, such as storing them in buses.

A dangerous journey

More than 40,000 people have made the perilous journey across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes so far this year, up from 28,000 in all of 2021 and 8,500 in 2020.

Dozens have died over the years, including 27 people in November 2021 when a loaded smuggling boat capsized.

Britain and France have long debated how to stop the gangs of people smugglers who organize the journeys.

In an attempt to discourage crossings, the British government has announced a controversial plan to send people arriving in small boats on a one-way journey to Rwanda – a plan it says will deter people from crossing the Channel and break the business model of gang-smuggling.

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Critics claim that the program is immoral and impractical, and is being challenged in the courts.

Critics have also criticized the British government for failing to process asylum applications quickly and for leaving thousands of people stuck in overcrowded detention centers and temporary accommodation.

A comprehensive approach is needed

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the UK Refugee Council charity, said enforcement measures would do little to stop desperate people attempting the dangerous crossings.

“The government must take a more comprehensive approach and create an orderly, fair and humane asylum system that recognizes that the vast majority of those who embark on dangerous journeys are refugees fleeing for their lives,” he said.

“It has to deal with the fact that this is a global issue that will not be solved by enforcement measures alone.”


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