Thu. Nov 24th, 2022

After France and Great Britain reached an agreement on tightening border controls and patrolling along the English Channel, the deal has been met with some criticism.

Monday’s deal means Britain will now have to pay France €72m – an extra €10m from the previous deal – to increase the number of police and gendarmes on French beaches from 800 to 900.

The announcement came after a meeting between British Home Secretary Suella Braverman and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

But for those on the ground in northern France working with migrants, the news does not bring a concrete solution. For Pierre Roques, coordinator of the Auberge des Migrants association, more police will not reduce the number of migrants.

If anything, more police surveillance makes the possibility of illegal travel even more enticing.

“So, we are increasing the police force by 40 percent. What will happen? All this strengthens the transit networks (trafficking in human beings), makes the transit networks indispensable,” says Roques.

“This has been observed empirically for years: the more police you put on the beaches, the more you encourage illegal networks. It’s a snake biting its own tail.”

Space for further exploitation

There are fears that smugglers will find alternative ways to smuggle migrants across the canal.

Officials in Calais note that the coastline between the Belgian border and the Baie de Somme in France is 150 kilometers long and open for exploitation.

There is also a problem with the inflatable boats that migrants use to cross the channel from Germany. Investigators say the boats and life jackets from Germany are being used by human traffickers smuggling migrants to Britain via Belgium and France.

“It is rumored that many of the small boats that make it to the coast come from Germany. Perhaps the German, Belgian and Dutch intelligence services should be involved, in fact the whole of Europe,” says Philippe Mignonet, deputy mayor of Calais.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 200 people have died or gone missing at sea or on land since 2014 trying to reach England from France.

Monday’s announcement comes because of the number of migrants who have crossed the channel this year on Sunday, it crossed the 40,000 marka record, according to the British government.

Watch the Euronews report in the player above.