UK calls on France to crack down on Channel crossings


Migrants near Calais in January 2020 (illustration). – Jeff Gilbert / REX / SIPA

The British government on Saturday called on France to toughen its measures to fight against illegal crossings of migrants on board small boats, deeming their level “unacceptable”. Ninety-six migrants were intercepted by border police on Friday, according to British authorities. The day before, 202 migrants managed to reach the English coast aboard 20 boats, a record in a single day.

According to a count by the British news agency Press Associationn (PA), more than 1,000 migrants managed to cross the strait, one of the busiest in the world, in July alone. At least 682 migrants have been intercepted by French authorities after attempting to cross the Channel using makeshift boats or by swimming since January 1, according to an AFP count.

“The French must take stronger measures”

“The number of crossings aboard small boats that we observe from France is unacceptable,” said Secretary of State for Immigration Chris Philp on Saturday, stressing that “migrants continue to arrive in Calais to make the crossing “. “The French must take stronger measures,” added Chris Philp, believing that “interceptions at sea and direct returns of boats” must be put in place.

This position was expressed directly to the French by the Minister of the Interior Priti Patel, who recently met her counterpart Gerald Darmanin to set up a “Franco-British intelligence unit” to fight against smugglers. On the French side, 58 migrants, including eight children and three people with disabilities, were rescued on Friday as they attempted the crossing, according to local French maritime authorities.

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