Britain will give France nearly half a billion pounds to set up an immigration detention center and specialized police units to deal with the interception of small boats in the English Channel.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the money was needed to “dismantle” the people smugglers’ gangs. He struck a new deal in Paris on Friday with President Emmanuel Macron that will cost much more than he expected.
Under the agreement, Britain will send 480 million pounds (about 12.8 billion crowns) to Paris over the next three years so that French officials can increase their efforts to stop small boats ferrying migrants across the English Channel.
In return for this money, hundreds of French border guards and a specialized police unit focused on small boats were promised. A new immigration detention center will also be established. According to the site times France will also contribute its resources.
The British guards will be in France permanently
British police officers began operating on French beaches last year, but only temporarily. Under the new agreement, their spread is now permanent. A newly created “Area Coordination Center” will manage efforts to stop the boats.
Non-profit organizations opposed the British government’s plan. According to them, it violated London’s international obligations, moreover, it would not deter migrants from the dangerous journey across the English Channel anyway. However, the government has not provided details yet.
He also promised closer cooperation between the National Agency for Combating Crime and its French counterpart, as the battle targets the leaders of smuggling gangs.
As part of a broader intelligence sharing, it will be BBC The operation of drones, aircraft and other surveillance technologies has also been enhanced with the aim of stopping departing boats. In addition to upgrading surveillance technologies, both countries also want to step up patrols at sea.
A major topic in Sunak’s reign
Illegal immigration is currently a major issue for Sunak’s conservative government, which is seeking to pass a law in Britain that would allow the administration to deport people without asylum if they entered Britain illegally.
They will also be banned from entering the country again. It can be sent to countries such as Rwanda under an agreement that has not yet entered into force in practice.
“I have made stopping the boats one of my five priorities. We prioritize this to stop people coming to the UK illegally,” Sunak said.
“We don’t need to manage this problem, we need to break it. And today we have moved further than ever to end this disgusting trade in human life. Working together, the UK and France will ensure that no one can abuse our systems with impunity of punishment.”
The European far right has applauded the British draft law on illegal immigration. This was challenged by a senior EU official and reiterated its doubts about the legality of the plans.
Right now, fewer than half of the ships are stopped before they set sail, according to The Times, with officials estimating the arrest rate at around 75% for stopping smuggling rings.
Rishi Sunak welcomed a “new chapter” in Britain’s relations with France with Friday’s meeting. The Anglo-French summit with President Macron was the first in five years. Before meeting with the French president, Sunak said they share the desire to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and deepen cooperation.
He also claimed that the Northern Ireland Protocol Agreement, which had been negotiated recently, opened the door to better relations with France years later. “This is a new chapter in interrelationships. I really think the combination of things we can do together is very important.”
near neighbors. Great friends. Historical allies. 🇬🇧🇫🇷
– Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) March 10, 2023
Sunak cited illegal immigration, energy security and cooperation between the British and French armed forces as discussed, adding: “I hope this is the beginning of a stronger relationship between us and I am honored to be a part of it.”
Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron met privately for more than an hour on Friday. And the two leaders agreed that neither of their teams would attend the talks at the Elysee Palace, which was highly unusual.
Downing Street said after the meeting that it had allowed the two men to have a frank conversation and build a relationship that both sides consider crucial after years of diplomatic tensions.
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