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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Channel crossings: Recent UK-France tensions as minister admits solely 5 migrants returned to Europe this yr | Politics Information

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Efforts between the UK and France to stem unlawful Channel crossings have been hit by recent tensions – on the identical day it was revealed solely 5 migrants have up to now been returned to Europe this yr after making the journey to Britain by boat.

Dwelling Secretary Priti Patel this week met her French counterpart, Gerald Darmanin, after the variety of individuals arriving within the UK by way of Channel boat crossings not too long ago hit a record for a single day.

Following the conclusion of Monday’s assembly, the Dwelling Workplace issued what it mentioned was a joint assertion between Ms Patel and Mr Darmanin.

It mentioned the pair had “agreed to speed up the supply of the commitments” made in July “to ship on their joint willpower to forestall 100% of crossings and make this lethal route unviable”.

However the French embassy within the UK has now queried the assertion, posting on its Twitter account on Wednesday that the “100% determine was not agreed” between Ms Patel and Mr Darmanin and “shouldn’t be introduced as an agreed dedication: it isn’t”.

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“And it isn’t a part of the joint assertion,” the tweet added.

Following the embassy’s intervention, Dwelling Workplace sources pointed to feedback by Mr Darmanin at a information convention final month, at which the French inside minister was quoted as saying the UK and France “ought to be capable of attain 100% [of interceptions] if we push sources and if our British buddies proceed to assist us as they’re doing now”.

Extra on Migrant Crossings

The emergence of tensions between French officers and the Dwelling Workplace got here after UK authorities minister Tom Pursglove instructed MPs that simply 5 migrants who crossed the Channel by boat to the UK had been returned to European international locations up to now this yr.

In whole, greater than 23,000 individuals have arrived within the UK by way of small boats this yr, in comparison with 8,500 in 2020, Mr Pusglove instructed the Home of Commons’ house affairs committee on Wednesday.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, the committee’s chair, challenged the minister that the flexibility of the UK to return migrants to the EU had received “considerably worse” following the top of an asylum settlement with the bloc after Brexit.

She mentioned this settlement “did enable us to return a number of hundred individuals a yr to EU member states”.

In keeping with Dwelling Workplace information, between January 2019 and March 2020 – when EU asylum guidelines nonetheless utilized to the UK – greater than 155 individuals who entered the UK illegally on small boats had been returned to Europe.

“You’ll admire that there have been some difficulties round securing returns, not least as a consequence of COVID, that is a crucial context that I believe we’d like to remember,” Mr Pursglove instructed the committee.

“The ambition stays to safe profitable returns preparations with our European buddies and neighbours and, doubtlessly, with the EU.”

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Mr Pursglove, a minister in each the Dwelling Workplace and Ministry of Justice, acknowledged that small boat arrivals had been “turning into the route of selection for facilitations by evil felony gangs”.

“The smugglers have gotten extra audacious, we’re seeing riskier behaviours,” he mentioned.

“We’re seeing larger boats deployed. We’re seeing a wider array of crossings originating from a wider stretch of shoreline.”

And he admitted {that a} “five-fold improve in clandestine arrivals this summer time in contrast with 2018 is totally unacceptable”.

“We have got to do higher on this,” Mr Pursglove added. “And I cannot relaxation till we get to a much better place on this situation.”

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