British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed to French President Emmanuel Macron a plan to “go further and faster” in actions against migrant crossings through the English Channel, with measures such as joint maritime patrols. to prevent vessels from leaving French shores or a bilateral returns agreement.
This has been expressed by Johnson in a letter to Macron that the British Prime Minister himself has spread this Thursday through his social networks, in which he has pointed out five points that countries should consider to “redouble efforts” to address the crisis migratory.
Along with his requests to carry out “reciprocal maritime patrol operations in the territorial waters of the other party”, he has called on the French president also to deploy “more advanced” technology – including ground sensors and radars – while he has advocated bringing carried out “reciprocal aerial surveillance with manned and unmanned aircraft, perhaps flying under a joint insignia.”
“Arrests and prosecutions”
The British prime minister has also urged to deepen the work of the Joint Intelligence Cell with a “better exchange of information in real time” to carry out “arrests and prosecutions on both sides of the channels.”
In this context, he assured that London would be prepared to start joint patrols “from the beginning of next week” and to expand them later, since he sees this measure as the one that requires “the most urgent progress”.
On the other hand, he has urged Macron to immediately establish a bilateral readmission agreement that “allows the return of all illegal immigrants who cross the canal.”
“This would have an immediate effect and would significantly reduce, if it does not stop, crossings, saving lives by fundamentally breaking the business model of criminal gangs,” he said in the letter.
In this regard, the prime minister has written a series of posts on Twitter in which he has insisted that “quickly returning (illegal migrants) arriving in this country (United Kingdom),” would significantly reduce the incentive for people to put his life in the hands of the traffickers. “
“This would be the biggest step we could take together to reduce the attraction to the north of France and break the business model of criminal gangs,” he stressed.
The British authorities will travel to Paris this Friday to hold talks with the French Government, while the British Interior Minister, Priti Patel, will go to Calais on Sunday, off whose coast some thirty people died this week trying to cross to the United Kingdom, an event that has led countries to consider new measures in the face of the migration crisis.
Macron said he was requesting “extra help” from the UK on Thursday, when authorities revealed pregnant women and children among those who died when a ship sank while crossing into the UK on Wednesday.
In addition, Johnson has stated that he was willing to elevate this meeting to a full summit of the leaders of France and the United Kingdom.
“Stronger European cooperation”
For his part, the French president on Thursday called for “stronger European cooperation” to combat migrant smuggling.
Taking advantage of the presidency of France in the EU, in the first half of 2022, Macron also wants to propose a reform of the Schengen area, which allows free movement, to apply greater surveillance on internal borders, according to sources cited by the Europe 1 radio station. In this way, Paris would undertake changes to which it was initially reluctant and which, in order to move forward, would need unanimity.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.