On Wednesday, when 27 migrants tried to reach the UK by boat from France, they died in the cold waters of the Strait, which forced the two governments to put aside their post-Brexit differences in response to the crisis.
However, analysts say that the solutions they advocate centered on a stronger security response and may not be enough to stop the flow of immigrants to the UK.
After the tragedy, French Prime Minister Jean Castex stated that this issue needs to be “solved at the intergovernmental and European level.” In Downing Street, although British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that France’s efforts were “not enough,” a senior diplomatic adviser insisted that Britain and France need to “jointly respond to the greater geopolitical and security challenges we face.”
The drowning incident has highlighted the enormous difficulty of the two governments in dealing with the long-term crisis. For decades, Paris and London have been cooperating to solve the problem of asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa reaching the British coast from northern France, but since Brexit, the relationship between the two countries has been worrying.
“this [disaster] It will happen someday,” said Gérard-François Dumont, a demographer and economist.
Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to focus on combating traffickers. To this end, Macron said that it is necessary not only to cooperate with the United Kingdom, but also with neighboring countries of the European Union including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, because immigrants travel through these countries to Calais and Dunkirk with the help of population smuggling criminal groups. And their dangerous journey across the English Channel. Castex pointed out that most migrants trying to cross the English Channel only entered France “a few hours before they tried to cross.”
Castex said that France has invited the UK, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands ministers responsible for immigration and the European Commission to come to Canada on Sunday to discuss how to strengthen the “combat human trafficking network that uses the flow of migrants.”
France stated that it has detained 1,500 human traffickers this year, of which 5 were detained after the most recent incident. But Dumont said that Paris has more work to do to deal with international crime businesses with annual turnover of billions of euros and bosses all over the world-in places where they are “untouchable”, such as Northern Cyprus-and Ability to adapt to the government’s response.
One of the reasons for the surge in the number of ships crossing the English Channel is that the British and French authorities have strengthened the security of the port and the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.
Dumont suggested that one way to reduce the number of illegal border crossings is to provide those who want to immigrate the possibility of remotely applying for asylum before dangerous journeys.
“We know that security measures don’t work because it doesn’t work in the Mediterranean,” said Heather Grubb, director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, referring to the flow of migrants from North Africa to southern Europe in small boats. coastal. “The Mediterranean has become a cemetery, destroying everyone’s integrity.”
She said that what is needed is to “provide a functioning system for those in need of asylum, as well as provide legal channels for those who come for economic reasons.” In this area, the EU has failed like the United Kingdom, although this is a Obtaining asylum is essential. To deal with the continuing pressure of inward immigration. “There are millions of refugees around us [the edge of] Europe, for example, is trapped in Turkey. “
Brexit has led to the UK’s withdrawal from the so-called “Dublin Regulations”-according to this regulation, asylum seekers should apply in the first EU country they enter. This regulation gives London permission for France and other EU member states to process their applications. Request legalization. But even if the United Kingdom rejoins, it may not have much impact. “The Dublin Agreement does not work,” Dumont said.
For now, however, British and European politicians are not inclined to reform the asylum system that was designed for smaller migration flows decades ago. Instead, under the pressure of growing anti-immigration public sentiment, they will focus on strengthening security.
In France and the United Kingdom, there are also calls to cancel or renegotiate the 2003 Le Touquet bilateral agreement, according to which the two countries conduct border inspections at a point of departure, rather than on each side of the strait—which means Those leaving the French border are supervised by French officials heading to the UK.
However, a British minister, who asked not to be named, said that he had no interest in changing the Le Touquet agreement or rejoining the Dublin Convention. “We have made a sovereign choice with Brexit regarding these treaties, and we will not reconsider them,” the minister said.
Some in the Johnson administration believe that a long-term answer may be to review Articles 3 and 8 of the Bill of Rights. An insider in the Department of the Interior said that “makes expulsion very difficult.” The British Minister added that it is possible to debate whether or not Britain will join the European Convention on Human Rights. “In the long run, (leaving the European Court of Human Rights) may be part of the solution.”
British communications after Brexit
Learn about the latest developments after Brexit through original insights provided weekly by our public policy editor Peter Foster and senior writers from the Financial Times. Register here.