Great Britain & France sign refugee pact


A rescued man on a ship in the English Channel

The refugees come mainly from Albania, Afghanistan and Iran.

(Photo: AP)

London Great Britain and France have agreed to work more closely together to combat illegal immigration through the English Channel after years of dispute. The agreement is crucial to “get a grip on illegal migration in small boats,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Bali. Sunak had reached the agreement in the past few days after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The core of the agreement is increased border security by French officials who are to be supported by British border guards. London will transfer around 63 million pounds (about 72 million euros) to Paris for this. Last year the British paid £54million to have the French patrol their beaches better. The number of border guards with better technological equipment is now to be increased from 200 to 300.

According to the British Ministry of Defence more than 40,000 refugees have come to Great Britain by boat across the Channel this year. Last Saturday alone there were almost 1000. Crossing the Channel is considered dangerous. According to British charities, more than 150 people have died trying to escape in the past five years.

The refugees come mainly from Albania, Afghanistan and Iran. British authorities assume that most Albanian refugees in particular enter Great Britain with the help of smuggling gangs for economic reasons. Albania is considered a safe country of origin.

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“Many of those trying to get to the UK are economic migrants rather than people fleeing persecution or war,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the BBC. However, figures from the British Home Office show that in the twelve months up to June this year around three quarters of the asylum applications were initially approved.

>> Also read here: Germany – as many refugees as in 2015

The growing number of “boat people” has led to an internal political crisis in the kingdom. In early November, scores of immigrants had to be evacuated from the Manston immigration center in Kent because overcrowding was what politicians said was “inhumane” conditions there.

European Court of Human Rights prevented deportation to Rwanda

The criticism is primarily directed at the controversial Interior Minister Suella Braverman, who wanted to get the crisis under control with a restrictive immigration policy. Their plan to deport refugees to Rwanda has so far failed due to appeals to the European Court of Human Rights.

Braverman had therefore pleaded for Great Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. According to its own statements, the British government spends almost seven million pounds a day to house most of the refugees in hotels.

There is “no quick fix, there is no silver bullet,” but the number of migrants arriving in Britain is “completely unacceptable,” Braverman said at the signing of the new deal in Paris.

According to French figures, around 29,000 refugees were prevented from crossing the canal this year. That corresponds to a success rate of a good 40 percent. In order for the business model of the smuggling gangs to be undermined, the quota must be 70 to 80 percent, according to the border police.

More: Rwanda instead of Great Britain – London is shifting its refugee problem to Africa



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