Migrant crossings in the English Channel: France and the UK sign a new agreement

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On Monday 14 November, France and Britain signed a new agreement to fight together against migrant crossings in the Channel.

France and the United Kingdom signed a new agreement on Monday to fight together against migrant crossings in the Channel, a source of regular tension for years between Paris and London, AFP learned from the French interior ministry.

In particular, this agreement allows the British to pay 72.2 million euros in 2022-2023 to France, which in return will increase its security forces by 40% (350 additional police and gendarmes including reservists) on its beaches, where migrants to the United States leave the Kingdom, according to the joint statement from the two countries consulted by AFP.

Record crossings in 2002

No quantified measure of boat diversions, which the UK wanted according to the cross-Channel press, appears in this document, signed on Monday morning in Paris by French Interior Minister GĂ©rald Darmanin and his British counterpart Suella Braverman.

The agreement comes a day after the announcement by the British Ministry of Defense that the number of migrants who have crossed the Channel since the beginning of the year had exceeded the record of 40,000. In this text, London and Paris are first set as an objective. to deploy “technological and human resources”, including drones, on the French coast to better detect, monitor and intercept boats. The two countries also want to collect and use information, especially “from intercepted migrants”, to better dismantle smuggling networks and deter passage through joint work “as early as possible” in cooperation with countries of origin and transit of exiles.

“A more integrated and effective approach”

To achieve these three objectives, a dozen actions aimed at “a more integrated and effective approach” have been listed. For the first time, teams of observers will be deployed on both sides of the Channel to “strengthen mutual understanding” between the two countries, “improve the conduct of investigations of migrants” and “increase the exchange of information”. The agreement also provides for the funding of “detection dogs” in the ports and the installation of surveillance cameras at the main border crossing points along the coast. Reception centers for migrants are also to be set up in southern France to deter exiles who take the Mediterranean from returning to Calais and “offer them safe alternatives”.

The agreement was signed almost a year after 27 migrants died on 24 November 2021 when their boat sank off Calais, the worst tragedy on record in the Channel. More than 200 people have died or gone missing, at sea or on land, trying to reach England from France’s northern coast since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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