The UK and France have reached a new agreement to tackle the ongoing issue of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel. The agreement, which was signed in July 2021, aims to strengthen cooperation between the two countries and increase efforts to prevent illegal migration.
Under the agreement, the UK has agreed to provide France with an additional £54 million to support its efforts to prevent illegal migration, including increased patrols and surveillance technology. The UK will also provide more equipment to help French authorities intercept and rescue migrants who attempt to make the dangerous crossing.
In return, France has agreed to double the number of police officers deployed to prevent illegal migration along the coast. The French government has also committed to cracking down on criminal gangs who facilitate illegal migration and to increase the number of deportations of failed asylum seekers.
The agreement comes at a time when the number of migrants crossing the English Channel has reached record levels. In the first seven months of 2021, more than 8,000 migrants attempted the crossing, compared to around 1,800 in the same period last year.
Critics of the agreement, including human rights groups and opposition politicians, have raised concerns about the treatment of migrants and the lack of focus on providing safe and legal routes for those seeking asylum. They have also questioned the effectiveness of increased patrols and surveillance technology, arguing that such measures are unlikely to deter desperate migrants from attempting the crossing.
Despite these concerns, the UK and France have stressed the importance of working together to address the issue of illegal migration and to prevent further tragedies in the English Channel. The new agreement represents a step forward in this effort, but it remains to be seen whether it will be effective in addressing the root causes of illegal migration and providing a sustainable solution to the ongoing crisis.