France and UK turn to law and order in long-running migrant crisis

The deaths of 27 migrants in the Channel cold water en route to the UK from France in a small boat on Wednesday forced the two governments to put aside their post-Brexit disputes to address the crisis.

However, promising responses, with regard to security measures, may not be enough to curb the influx of immigrants to the UK, experts say.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the crisis needed to be “addressed in governments and Europe”. On Downing Street, when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said France’s efforts were “not enough”, the ambassador to the United Nations insisted that the UK and France should “work together on the major security challenges we face”.

The drowning of the waters has proved that all these governments are struggling to cope with the problems that have plagued them for so long. Although Paris and London have worked together for years to accommodate refugees from the Middle East and Africa who want to reach the English coast from the north of France, relations have been strained since Brexit.

“These [disaster] will happen one day, “says economist Gérard-François Dumont.

Johnson and Emmanuel Macron, President of France, have vowed to crack down on smugglers. To do so, Macron said there was a need for cooperation not only with the UK, but also with EU neighboring countries including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as migrants pass through these countries with the help of smuggling terrorists. route to Calais, Dunkirk and their perilous journeys across the Channel. Most of the migrants who want to cross the Channel have entered France “just a few hours before attempting to cross,” Castex said.

France has summoned the UK, Belgian, German and Dutch ministers responsible for immigration, and the European Commission, in Calais on Sunday to discuss how to promote “the fight against smuggling networks,” Castex said. .

France is said to have arrested 1,500 smugglers this year, including five following recent incidents. But Mr Dumont said there was much to be done by Paris to tackle global trade and repay billions of euros a year, with employers around the world – in “unaffected” areas, such as northern Cyprus – and the possibility of changing the government’s response.

One of the reasons for the increasing number of Channel crossings by boat is that the British and French authorities have increased security at ports and at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

Dumont suggested that one way to reduce the number of illegal crossings would be to give those who were trying to evacuate to seek refuge far away, before their dangerous trips arrived.

“We know that the security system does not work because it did not work in the Mediterranean,” said Heather Grabbe, director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, on the movement of migrants in small boats to southern Europe from northern Africa. sea. “Med became a cemetery that destroyed the loyalty of everyone.”

What is needed, he said, “is a way to work for those who need security, as well as legal means for those who are coming because of the economy”, a region where the EU failed miserably as the UK even though it was necessary to end it. to regulate the constant pressure of internal migration. “We have millions of refugees [the edge of] Europe, settled in Turkey for example. “

Brexit has led the UK to abandon the so-called “Dublin regulation” – where asylum seekers have to apply in their first EU country of entry, which has made London eligible for France and other EU members to comply with their demands. But even if the UK re-entered, it would not make much difference. “Dublin agreements do not work,” said Dumont.

However, in the meantime, politicians in the UK and Europe do not want to change the survival strategies that were developed a few decades ago in order to move younger ones. Instead, pressured by the growing anti-immigrant sentiment, they need to focus more on promoting security.

In France and the UK, there is also a call to suspend or discuss the 2003 international agreement Le Le Touquet where the borders of both countries are located at the same departure point and not on either side of the Channel – meaning that the French border is occupied by French police in the UK. .

However, a UK official who spoke on condition of anonymity said he had no intention of changing Le Touquet’s contract or re-joining the Dublin conference. “We have made our own decision with Brexit on these agreements, we will not repeat them,” he said.

Some in Johnson’s administration think the long-term solution could be to investigate the third and eighth issues of the Human Rights Act which one Office Office said “makes eviction more difficult”. The UK Prime Minister added that UK membership to the European Convention on Human Rights could be negotiated. In the long run, (leaving the ECHR) may be part of the answer. ”

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