In 2020, more than 9,500 crossings or attempted crossings of the Channel were registered, four times as many as in 2019, while the tally for the first half of 2021 already tops the total for last year…reports Asian Lite News.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin asked for the EU border agency Frontex’s assistance and the closer cooperation of northern European states in stemming the flow of illegal migrants crossing the Channel en route to the United Kingdom.
“We need European air surveillance. I myself have contacted Frontex, which is predominantly taking care of southern Europe, and asked them to deal with northern Europe, too, particularly the coastline of Nord-Pas-de-Calais,” Darmanin said during his visit to the northern French city of Calais, a point from which many migrants try to cross the Channel to reach the UK, as quoted by The Times.
Darmanin welcomed a deal signed last week under which London pledged 63 million euros (USD 74 million) to help France curb migrant flow to the UK by deploying more security forces and installing the latest surveillance equipment.
The minister called on the Netherlands and Belgium to foster cooperation since up to 60% of migrants that enter France on the way to the UK come from Belgium. The issue is to be placed on the agenda after France takes over the EU presidency in January 2021.
In 2020, more than 9,500 crossings or attempted crossings of the Channel were registered, four times as many as in 2019, while the tally for the first half of 2021 already tops the total for last year.
Last week, the UK had agreed to pay France an extra 55 million pounds ($74 million) to combat a surge in illegal boats crossing the English Channel, the Home Office in London announced.
In order to stem the rising number of migrants crossing the Channel, British Home Secretary Priti Patel agreed to pay the sum as part of a deal reached with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
The money, on top of 25 million pounds allocated last year, will pay to double the number of French patrol police to around 200 a day, and to extend the use of surveillance technology over a wider area of the north French coast, the Home Office said on Wednesday.
It is also expected to lead to a joint bid to forge a new pan-European deal for European Union (EU) nations to take back illegal migrants who reach the UK.
The Home Office said the number of people who have made the crossing in 2021 so far is already higher than last year’s record-breaking 8,420 crossings.
Local media reported that almost 1,000 have crossed the Channel to the UK in the past three days as smugglers took advantage of the good weather, bringing the total number to at least 8,452 this year.
Thousands more are expected over the next two months. (ANI/Sputnik/IANS)
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