France, UK sign new deal to thwart migrant Channel crossings

November 15, 2022 / 9:15 AM
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman shake hands after signing a joint declaration signature
Sharjah24 – AFP: Britain agreed to pay France another 72.2 million euros ($74.5 million) to prevent migrant boat crossings in the English Channel under a new deal signed on Monday that underlines improving ties between the neighbours.
Around 42,000 people -- most of them Albanians, Iranians and Afghans -- have crossed the Channel to England from France this year.

The figure is well over last year's 28,561, which was a thousand-fold increase from 2018, when migrants and asylum seekers first began sailing inflatables across one of the world's busiest shipping channels.

"There are no quick fixes, but this new arrangement will mean we can significantly increase the number of French gendarmes patrolling the beaches in northern France," Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in a statement after signing the accord with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin.

The extra money will fund a 40 percent rise in the number of security forces patrolling France's northern beaches, meaning an additional 100 people, the French interior ministry said.

For the first time, teams of observers will be deployed on both sides of the Channel to "strengthen common understanding".

"The arrangement means, for the first time, specialist UK officers will also be embedded with their French counterparts," the British interior ministry said.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he believed numbers crossing the Channel would fall but that he couldn't predict when exactly results would be seen.

"I am confident that we can get the numbers down. But... it isn't a single thing that will magically solve this. We can't do it overnight," he told broadcasters ahead of the G20 summit in Bali.
November 15, 2022 / 9:15 AM

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