UK to pay France to stop migrants

Photo: EPA

The UK will pay France €62.7m to prevent migrants from crossing the English Channel, under a deal hammered out on Tuesday. The plan includes also doubling the number of French officers deployed along the coast and improving intelligence sharing, news wires reported.

The deal comes a day after a record 430 people crossed the Channel on small boats. So far the number of people crossing the Channel this year has overtaken 2020's total. The funding will also be used for better technology to target those who organise the crossings, the Home Office said.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin have agreed to "strengthen co-operation" over the crossings. The Home Office said UK support last year helped France double the number of officers deployed daily on the beaches of its northern coast. It said this resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year compared with the same period in 2020.

But Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont suggested it would not have an impact as the French coastline is too big. "The fact is, we've seen it before. Having more money, having more police officers, having more controls, will not prevent people to succeed in these crossing attempts. We have too many kilometres of shore to monitor," he pointed out.

However, the people who facilitated the crossings had now changed their tactics and had moved further up the French coast, "forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys". According to Dumont, the French are not supposed to intervene at sea.

More on this subject: Migration crisis

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