Europe meets in Calais to fight migratory trafficking, without the United Kingdom

Four days after the worst migratory drama that occurred in the Channel, which left 27 dead, a European meeting is being held Sunday, November 28 in Calais, in order to strengthen the fight against migratory trafficking.

“The most important point of this meeting is the fight against smugglers who play with our borders and countries”, declared the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, at the opening of this meeting, shortly before 3:30 p.m., in the port city of northern France. “The problem is European and British. The phenomenon continues to increase, including since Brexit “, he added to the ministers responsible for immigration from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, as well as the European Commissioner for Home Affairs. The European criminal police, Europol, and border agencies, Frontex, will be represented.

It is about strengthening “Operational cooperation in the fight against smugglers, because they are international networks that operate in different European countries”, had argued for Agence France-Presse the entourage of the minister before the meeting.

Crossings have developed since 2018 in the face of the closure of the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel, which migrants used while hiding in vehicles. According to Mr. Darmanin, 30 channels of smugglers were dismantled during the first ten months of the year, against 22 for the year 2020. And since the 1is January 1,500 people linked to these networks were arrested. But the traffic does not weaken, Germany is now pointed out as a rear base for smugglers.

Read also Shipwreck of migrants in the English Channel: the Touquet accords at the heart of criticism

London, not invited, calls for cooperation

The meeting will take place without the British party, however primarily concerned: Mr. Darmanin canceled the participation of his counterpart Priti Patel, Friday, in response to a letter published Thursday evening on Twitter par Boris Johnson, asking Paris to take back migrants arriving in Great Britain from France. In a message to Mme Patel, Mr. Darmanin said to himself ” disappointed “ of the British Prime Minister’s demands and ruled ” even worse “ their publication. President Emmanuel Macron had also criticized Mr. Johnson for methods considered to be “Not serious”.

The British government insisted on Saturday that relations with France remained « strong ». Mr Johnson’s letter “Absolutely recognizes everything that the French government and authorities have done, that it is a shared challenge”British Secretary of State for Security Damian Hinds told the BBC. “But now, particularly driven by this terrible tragedy, we must go further, deepen our partnership, expand what we do, develop new solutions”, he added.

Mme Patel announced in a tweet that she would have “Urgent talks with [ses] European counterparts “ next week, “To avoid further tragedies in the Channel”. “The death of these 27 people must be a clear call to cooperate”, she said in a column published in the tabloid The Sun. According to the British Minister, the joint work of London and Paris “Has avoided more than 20,000 crossings this year” and proceed “To more than 400 arrests” since 2020. “But we can do a lot more”, she said, calling for more action “Efficient and coordinated on both sides of the Channel”.

Seeking to extinguish the anger of Paris, the British government once again called on France to cooperate in the fight against migrant smugglers: “We must all do what we can to break the economic model of these human traffickers”, and “This implies working in close collaboration with our French friends”Health Minister Sajid Javid told Sky News. “Our two countries are playing a blame game while children are drowning in our Channel”Opposition Labor MP Lisa Nandy denounced on Sky News on Sunday, “It is simply inadmissible”.

Read also Migrants in the Channel: “pure electoral calculations”, “fury” of France … the British press divided after the tragedy

On Saturday, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said it was up to Britain to resolve its problems relating to the influx of migrants. The United Kingdom “Left the European Union”, consequently he “Must now decide how to organize the management of border control”, said Schinas. “If I remember correctly, the main slogan of the referendum campaign [sur le Brexit] was We take back control »added Mr. Schinas, who coordinates a new pact on migration and asylum.

Fatalistic associations

The investigation into the deadly shipwreck in the English Channel is being carried out at the National Jurisdiction in charge of the fight against organized crime (Junlaco), in Paris. But nothing has filtered, neither on the nationality of the victims nor on the causes of the sinking.

For associations helping migrants from Calais, however, the meeting risks not resolving anything, in particular because of the British absence. For François Guennoc, president of the Auberge des migrants, “When the government accuses the smugglers, it’s a way of hiding its own responsibilities”. “If there were possibilities of legal crossings in Great Britain, there would be no smugglers”, he judges. Juliette Delaplace, of the Catholic Secours Mission to the exiles, fears, for her part, an answer “Only repressive and security”.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Calais, the rescuers would like this drama to “awaken the consciences of the governors”

The World with AFP

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Europe meets in Calais to fight migratory trafficking, without the United Kingdom

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