Thursday 19 April 2018

UK, France make joint appeal for EU help on migrants

The sun sets behind a make shift camp near the port of Calais on August 2, 2015 in Calais, France
The sun sets behind a make shift camp near the port of Calais on August 2, 2015 in Calais, France

Andrew Woodcock

Britain and France have combined to call for international efforts to address "a global migration crisis" which has seen thousands of people trying to force their way into the Channel Tunnel in an effort to reach the UK.

French riot police sprayed migrants with chemical irritants after they tore down security fences at the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais on Saturday night.

Downing Street announced that the UK will fund additional private security guards, fencing and CCTV cameras to improve security at the terminal, while more French police are to be deployed to the border over the summer.

And a consultation has been launched on stripping financial support from the families of migrants who fail in their applications for asylum.

In a joint article for the 'Sunday Telegraph' and French newspaper 'Journal du Dimanche', Home Secretary Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve called on other EU nations to take action to address the root causes of the chaos in Calais.

They said that solving the crisis was "the top priority" for both governments, but added: "What we are currently facing is a global migration crisis. This situation cannot be seen as an issue just for our two countries.

"It is a priority at both a European and international level. Many of those in Calais and attempting to cross the Channel have made their way there through Italy, Greece or other countries. That is why we are pushing other member states, and the whole of the EU, to address this problem at root."

A long-term solution to the problem must involve persuading would-be migrants hoping for a better life in Europe that "our streets are not paved with gold", they said.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron urged David Cameron to reconsider Britain's refusal to take part in a European Commission scheme to relocate those arriving in Italy and Greece by boat.

In a letter to the prime minister, Mr Farron said: "Calais is the tip of a humanitarian crisis and while I and the Liberal Democrats support your action protecting our borders, I call on you to ensure that the UK acts in solidarity with the EU in providing asylum for those fleeing persecution and war."

Irish Independent

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