MISE & Agrave; DAY
Paris and London on Thursday showed their willingness to step up joint efforts to fight smuggling gangs, and France invited its European partners to a meeting scheduled for Sunday, the day after the death of 27 migrants after the sinking of their boat in the English Channel.
The tragedy is the deadliest since the soaring in 2018 of migratory crossings of the Channel, facing the increasing lockdown of the French port of Calais (North) and the rail tunnel, used until then by migrants trying to reach England.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday evening, the French President and the British Prime Minister agreed to “step up their efforts” to fight smuggling gangs, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, France invited “the ministers responsible for Belgian, German, Dutch and British immigration, as well as the European Commission, to a meeting” on Sunday in Calais. & Nbsp;
” This meeting should make it possible to define the ways and means of strengthening police, judicial and humanitarian cooperation “to” better fight against smuggling networks “, explained the services of French Prime Minister Jean Castex.
“France is a transit country, we are fighting against these networks of smugglers who use distress, but for that we must improve European cooperation”, had pleaded earlier the French head of state.
< p> Same will on the British side: we must “respond to long-term call effects, break down criminal gangs that treat human beings like commodities and attack supply chains”, Patel told MEPs British, calling for a “coordinated international effort”.
The British and the French display their agreements, while the day before Mr. Macron had “informed” Boris Johnson “that he expected the British to cooperate fully and that they refrain from using a dramatic situation for ends. policies ”.
Mr. Johnson said on Wednesday evening that efforts to deal with the migration crisis had not been “sufficient”, saying that he “had difficulty persuading some of (his) partners, in particular the French, to act at the height of the situation ”.
British Secretary of State for Immigration Kevin Foster stressed that London was ready to offer France additional “means” beyond its financial aid, such as the helicopter deployed on Wednesday as part of the rescue operation.
According to Tom Pursglove, another Secretary of State for Immigration, Mr Johnson reiterated a proposal, previously rejected by Paris on the grounds of sovereignty, to organize Franco-British patrols on the French coasts to prevent migrants from boarding. & nbsp;
The issue of crossings, which regularly stirs up bilateral tensions, is a delicate one for the British Conservative government, which has made the fight against immigration its hobbyhorse in the wake of Brexit.
The drama took place on a “long boat”, a fragile inflatable boat with a flexible bottom whose use by smugglers has increased since the summer . The boat had left from Dunkirk (north), according to a source familiar with the matter.
Among the victims are 17 men, 7 women and 3 young people, as well as 2 survivors, according to the prosecutor of Lille (north). There is said to be a teenager and three children among the victims, a police source said.
The two survivors, an Iraqi and a Somali, were in “severe hypothermia yesterday”, but “a little better today” hui, ”French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Thursday.
The wreckage was seized and will be examined to clarify the causes of the sinking, and five people, suspected of being smugglers, have been arrested, according to Mr. Darmanin.
An investigation has been opened in France for “help with irregular entry and stay in an organized gang”, “homicide and involuntary injuries” and “criminal conspiracy”.
“Since January 1, we have arrested 1500 smugglers”, a assured Mr. Darmanin Thursday. Smugglers who function as “mafia organizations” which “fall under organized crime” with the use in particular of “encrypted telephones”.
The attempts to cross the Channel on board small boats have doubled these three months, had recently warned the maritime prefect of the Channel and the North Sea, Philippe Dutrieux.
As of November 20, 31,500 migrants had left the coasts since the beginning of the year and 7,800 migrants had been rescued. A trend that has not declined despite the winter temperatures.
Before this sinking, the human toll since January had risen to three dead and four missing.