Migrant crossings to UK discussed by Clément Beaune
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Speaking to France24, Minister for European Affairs, Clément Beaune launched a furious defence of his nation’s track record of controlling the migrant crisis. He claimed French emergency services are working overtime to deal with the chaos despite this month’s record-setting day which saw 1,200 migrants arrive in Kent. But in a ferocious attack, he accused Britain of breaking international maritime law with new plans for UK Border Force to turn boats around as he deserted responsibility for boats leaving French shores.
Mr Beaune said: “This is a very serious matter that we take seriously through our co-operation with the UK.
“What is happening here is increasing migratory pressure.”
But he slammed how France “are dealing with” the crisis before claiming his country “are sometimes criticised” for their handling of the chaos at Calais and in the Channel.
He added: “People say ‘you are managing the UK Border, why are you doing that? You should let people go’.
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“We do that because we think it is in our common interests to organise matters on our side with cooperation, financial support from the UK.”
The minister went on to claim how French emergency services are “working very, very seriously” to tackle the crisis which has seen thousands of migrants cross the English Channel in a matter of months.
But in a brutal takedown on the British government, Mr Beaune accused the UK of breaking international law as he furiously attacked plans for UK Border Force to push boats back.
He said how he feels the plans are “extremely dangerous” and “probably contrary to international law”.
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Mr Beaune also stressed the move is risky and an “excessive response” that could lead to more migrant deaths in the Channel.
It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel recently greenlit plans for UK Border Force to be given orders to turn back boats and people traffickers attempting to cross the Channel.
The French European Affairs minister went on to call for more engagement between the UK and France over the crisis and claimed French ministers have been in “extensive” discussions with Ms Patel to come to a solution.
He claimed France are taking a “very big part” in tackling the crisis while also dealing with a lot of “local pressure” over the chaos in the Channel as Britain ploughs money into the French coastguard’s pockets to deal with the crisis.
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France has stopped more than two-thirds of migrant Channel crossings since Priti Patel threatened to withdraw a £54 million deal to control the migrant issue, reports suggest.
The Times recently revealed the Home Secretary was considering withdrawing the £54 million deal to solve the migrant crisis. This ultimatum included France stopping three in four migrant crossings by the end of September otherwise funding would be pulled.
The £54 million aid package would help fund a network of asylum reception centres in France to accommodate migrants before they attempt a crossing to the UK.
According to the Home Office, there have been 2,923 attempted Channel crossings in the ten subsequent days after The Times revealed Patel was considering withdrawing the funds. In those ten days, the French have stopped 1,777 of them, which is more than the 1,115 people who made it to the UK.
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