Sunday 28 May 2017

'Do your border checks in UK' says Calais

Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region where Calais is located, said: 'The English wanted to take back their freedom - they must take back their border.' Stock photo
Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region where Calais is located, said: 'The English wanted to take back their freedom - they must take back their border.' Stock photo

Mark Townsend

The mayor of Calais wants changes to the deal which allows Britain to carry out immigration checks on the French side of the English Channel.

That would mean that the migrant camps currently causing significant problems in the French port could move to the UK.

The BBC reported that Mayor Natacha Bouchart wants her Government to act quickly following Brexit.

"The British must take the consequences of their choice," she said on Friday.

Under the 2003 Touquet deal, Britain can carry out checks in Calais to stop migrants trying to get to Britain.

Ms Bouchart said: "We are in a strong position to press this request for a review and we are asking the president (Francois Hollande) to bring his weight (to the issue).

"We must put everything on the table - and there must be an element of division, of sharing."

Meanwhile, Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region where Calais is located, said: "The English wanted to take back their freedom - they must take back their border."

For many Calais residents, the holding area known as the 'Jungle' is the hottest issue in town. Standing in the central Place d'Armes, architect Nico Cousineau, 34, said: "I am very curious about what they will do with the border now. We want it moved to Dover.

"The migrants have caused many, many problems for us, including insecurity and perception issues. Many people, including British, avoid the town because they think it is unsafe."

Yet in the vast refugee camp itself, where an estimated 6,000 people are camped within a six-minute drive of the town's central square, news of the referendum result was greeted with indifference by many.

Most said it would neither deter them nor make them more determined to reach Britain.

Sunday Independent

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