With a deal with France, the British government wants to keep one of its most important election promises and significantly reduce illegal immigration across the English Channel. Home Secretary Suella Braverman signed an agreement with her colleague Gerald Tarmanin in Paris on Monday, which will for the first time allow British officials to be sent as visitors to France and vice versa. According to the interior ministry in Paris, 40 percent of France’s northern coast is to have more police officers and new surveillance technology. London in particular will pay for this. 72.2 million euros are planned for 2022 and 2023.
France has now also confirmed investments in reception centers in southern France. It aims to prevent migrants arriving via the Mediterranean from reaching the Channel coast and to provide them with a safer alternative. Unauthorized immigration is one of the biggest concerns of the UK Conservative government, although it is significantly lower than in most EU countries. However, over the years, the number of illegal Channel crossings has been on the rise – although London has long promised to tackle the problem.
Authorities are targeting Albanian refugees in particular
Both countries particularly want to target illegal entries from Albania. From there, according to British statistics, almost a third of migrants cross the English Channel, which is mainly driven by criminal Albanian gangs that control refugee camps in northern France. Over the weekend, more than 1,800 people reached British shores in small, often unseaworthy boats. There are already more than 41,000 this year – significantly more than all of 2021 and more than ever before. The government had promised that freedom of movement would end with Brexit.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed hope that the deal would reduce the number of crossings. The agreement comes ten days before the anniversary of the disaster in the English Channel: on November 24, 2021, 27 people drowned when a rubber boat capsized.
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