In an emergency meeting yesterday, France’s interior minister called on Britain to take responsibility for the Channel problem and make itself “less attractive for migrants.”
After 27 migrants died after entering the Channel heading for Britain last week, Gerald Darmanin and his European colleagues decided during the conference to launch an EU surveillance aircraft to monitor the English Channel’s beaches for migrant trafficking. Mr Darmanin said that the aircraft would “fly day and night” surveil the ground between France and the Netherlands.
According to her office, Ms Patel met with Dutch migration minister Ankie Broekers-Knol earlier on Sunday. She emphasised “the need for European partners to work together” via shared information and collaborative police activities.
Ms Patel was not invited to the meeting. According to Mr Darmanin, the meeting “was not anti-English. It was pro-European”.. He went on to say, “We want to work with our British friends and allies.”
“Britain left Europe, but not the world. We need to work seriously on these questions… without being held hostage by domestic British politics.”
France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands pledged to strengthen their operational collaboration against people-smuggling gangs in a joint statement, as well as to “improve joint cooperation with the United Kingdom.”
Frontex’s “standing corps,” as well as the agency’s surveillance aircraft, may well be deployed in northern France to assist combat the problem, according to EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.
She said that Frontex’s monitoring programme would help the EU and France better understand how people smugglers assist individuals fleeing the union for the United Kingdom.
In order to resolve the issue, the European Commissioner also urged for further collaboration with the United Kingdom. She said, “We need to work together with the UK to address this. I think this is an area where we can have an exchange of information on intelligence. We need to have a common approach on how to address these organised criminal groups that are smuggling.”
France is worried that criminals taking advantage of free borders are undermining its attempts to combat people-smuggling organisations.
Mr Darmanin stated that French officials had detained 1,500 traffickers and rescued 7,800 refugees since the beginning of the year. He said Britain must take steps to make itself less economically appealing to those seeking to enter Britain illegally across the Channel.
According to the paper, “Migrant smuggling to the United Kingdom – 10 months 2021,” 35,224 migrants have attempted to get to Britain in tiny boats so far this year, compared to 2,468 in the same time last year.