France calls on Britain to 'share' Calais immigrant 'burden'
The vast majority of the migrants there refuse to apply for asylum in France, as once they do so, they will lose their right to seek asylum in the UK
Thursday 12 December 2013
France has called on Britain to “share” more of the policing and financial “burden” caused by the pile-up of illegal immigrants in Calais.
The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, said that he had invited the Home Secretary Theresa May to meet him in Calais in the New Year to discuss a “renegotiation” of the Anglo-French agreement which led to the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp in December 2002.
Speaking at a press conference in Calais, Mr Valls said the agreement had succeeded in reducing the flow of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Britain through the French port. But he said that the current situation - with between 300 and 500 migrants living rough in the Calais area - was an “impasse”.
“Our British friends must take more account of the burden, the weight placed on France by the Calais migrant problem", he said.
The French interior minister rejected suggestions in the British media that he was planning to open “another Sangatte” - the Red Cross refugee camp near the Channel Tunnel entrance which was accused of attracting migrants before its closure. He did confirm, however, that France planned to create a “migrant house” which would provide medical help - but not shelter - to foreigners living rough in the Calais area.
The vast majority of the migrants reaching Calais - including many Syrians, Afghans, Pakistanis and Somalis - refuse to apply for asylum in France. Once they do so, they will lose their right to seek asylum in the UK.
Under the present “Sangatte accords” Britain pays a contribution towards the policing of the migrant problem in Calais. British police and border officials also operate on the French side of the Channel.
Mr Valls' call for Britain to share more of the “burden” is believed to refer to these elements of the accord. France is not suggesting that the Government should allow more immigrants to cross to Kent.
Mr Valls did say, however, that Britain had promised in 2002 to “review” policies which, according to France, make the UK a magnet for migrants.
“We have to review these accords. We have to admit that we are at an impasse (here in Calais),” he said.
Local politicians have criticised Mr Valls for failing to declare the port a “priority security area”, which would boost police numbers. Mr Valls announced that a mobile unit of 60 riot police, intermittently based in Calais, would now be placed permanently in the town.
- 1 Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
- 3 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 4 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
- 5 Chinese theme park sets up 'death simulator' where volunteers can experience being cremated
Saudi Arabia's King Salman sacks senior aide for 'slapping' a journalist behind him live on TV
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...