April 13, 2024

Migration across the English Channel: London pays millions for deportation centre

Status: 03/10/2023 6:52 pm

Great Britain wants to set up a deportation center in France to stem the recent sharp increase in migration across the English Channel. Prime Minister Sunak announced that he would give Paris half a billion euros for this.

Britain will pay France more than half a billion euros over the next three years to fight unwanted migration across the English Channel. It will fund a new deportation center in northern France, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced in a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. This is more than twice the amount paid annually from London to Paris.

A new command center is also to be built with 541 million euros, 500 additional border guards and the use of modern drones and surveillance technologies. “Criminal gangs should not decide who comes to our countries,” Sunak said.

Britain plans to tighten asylum laws

The British government is under pressure from record numbers of incoming migrants. Last year alone, around 45,000 people crossed the English Channel illegally from France to the UK – and almost 30,000 in 2021.

Sunak recently announced a new asylum law. It provides for the initial detention of nearly all immigrants who enter the country without official permission in shelters such as former military bases or student dormitories. After that they should be deported to Rwanda or other countries. The right to seek asylum should be taken away from them. The British government has admitted that the plan violates the limits of international law. UN bodies have strongly criticized the plan.

Macron pushes for European settlement

Macron stressed that France cannot make a deal with Great Britain alone to take back refugees. This is an EU issue. After Brexit, Great Britain will no longer be able to use the Dublin regulations that apply in the EU, according to which migrants can be sent back to another EU country if they have already been stopped on their flight.

Channeling migration must be tackled by all European countries together, Macron said. These include transit countries and those operated by smugglers who have arranged for migrants to cross the English Channel in rubber boats.

First high-level meeting in five years

In this meeting, both politicians emphasized their desire for a political restart. “Relations between our countries have deteriorated in recent years, and I don’t mean that you kicked England out of the World Cup,” Sunak said. The first high-level meeting in five years was a “fresh start”. “We left the EU, but not Europe,” Sunak said.

Relations between the two countries suffered under the previous two prime ministers, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, largely because a defense deal between Britain, the US and Australia overturned the French submarine deal.

Sunak in Macron – first bilateral high-level meeting in five years

Imke Koehler, ARD London, March 10, 2023 9:26 pm