Following the tragic drownings in the English Channel, European countries have agreed to step up the fight against illegal migration. A meeting regarding this issue was organized by France, but the United Kingdom was not present due to ongoing disputes, raising concerns that a unified solution that addresses illegal migration in the region will be impossible to reach. Now, the UK is preparing to host its own talks.
At Sunday’s meeting on migration, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin called for a joint fight against human smugglers and the trade with inflatable boats. France convened the meeting due to the growing number of migrants heading across the English Channel to the United Kingdom. Last Wednesday, dozens of migrants died during the accident in the channel when their overcrowded boat capsized.
“There are too many deaths. We cannot allow more people to die,” Darmanin said in the port of Calais in front of the guests, including ministers responsible for migration from Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, representatives of the European Commission, and representatives of the Europol police organization, and the European border agency Frontex.
Wednesday’s incident sparked a new political crisis in relations between Britain and France, which accused each other of not doing enough to deter migrants from the dangerous path.
France originally invited the British Home Secretary Priti Patel to the meeting but canceled the invitation on Friday. The cancellation was reportedly a reaction to the letter in which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on France to take back the migrants who would cross the English Channel into the United Kingdom. Paris rejected such a step.
During the meeting, the ministers agreed with Frontex on providing an aircraft to monitor the northern coast of France from Dec. 1 to prevent dangerous crossings of the English Channel, the AFP agency reported.
However, if Britain, the destination country for thousands of migrants gathering in northern France, does not join the negotiations, only limited results can be achieved, AFP reports.
The British government announced on Sunday that it is planning its own talks with European ministers this week. The British Home Secretary stressed that Britain could not solve the migration problem alone.