Paris and London: more patrols on the English Channel

The governments of France and Britain have signed a cooperation agreement aimed at reducing the number of refugees crossing the English Channel to the UK. France will increase the number of patrolling officers it deploys from 200 to 300, while Britain will boost its payments to France from 55 million to 63 million pounds (around 72 million euros) per year. Commentators criticise the deal.

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The Times (GB) /

Too much left unresolved

The agreement has glaring shortcomings, The Times comments:

“There will be no British officers patrolling French shores, as the government demanded, nor does the deal provide for the return of migrants who arrive in Britain with invalid asylum claims to France, or safe humanitarian routes for those whose claims are successful. Beyond the vague promise of increased security at ports, there appears to be little strategy for dealing with any increase in crossings via other means, be that by container or lorry.”

Libération (FR) /

Save, don't criminalise!

Libération's editor-in-chief Dov Alfon also takes issue with the deal:

“The number of arrests is used to try to demonstrate the effectiveness of the fight against smuggling networks. As a result, innocent refugees could end up in prison for years. In some countries for example Greece, the sentences can run into decades. ... The scapegoats are chosen quite randomly - because they agreed to hold a compass or sail a makeshift dinghy to European shores. ... The French and British governments have signed a new agreement to increase funding for patrols and controls. ... In defiance of the urgent need to improve access to asylum and emergency relief.”