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UK, France seek solutions to migration crisis after deaths in English Channel

08:48 02 December 2021 Author :  

The migration crisis between France and the UK took on new urgency after 27 migrants, including pregnant women and children, were killed in a sinking boat, on Nov. 24 while trying to cross the English Channel from France to the UK.

The boat, trying to cross the English Channel from Calais, France, sank, costing the lives of 17 men, seven women, and three children, and it was recorded as the incident with the most fatalities in the English Channel in recent years.

Following the disaster, French President Emmanuel Macron called for an emergency meeting on the EU immigration problem and said his country will not allow the English Channel to turn into a cemetery.

Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the phone agreed on the urgency of stopping irregular migration, However, one day after Johnson's phone call, a letter with a five-point plan he sent to Macron to deal with the migration crisis, angered France.

In his letter, Johnson argued that the plan, which he claimed would undermine the work of criminal gangs that smuggle people, would also be in the interest of France.

France, on the other hand, canceled the invitation of British Interior Minister Priti Patel to the meeting organized with the participation of many EU countries in Calais on Sunday, in response to Johnson sharing the letter on social media.

According to British ministers, Macron's Brexit punishment strategy is behind the migrant crisis with France. It is claimed that France, with existing problems with the UK for the last 11 months over fishing rights and quotas, is reluctant to stop the immigrants.

France, on the other hand, criticizes that the UK does not take the immigration problem seriously enough.

The migration crisis between the two countries is growing as the leaders accuse and react to each other.

Why has number of migrant boats increased?

In the first year after Brexit, a record number of migrants crossed the English Channel from France to the UK.

The UK has announced that more than 25,700 migrants have embarked on a dangerous journey in small boats this year, more than three times the total in 2020.

British officials said only five of these migrants that reached their shores were returned to Europe.

According to data from the French authorities, since the beginning of this year, 31,500 irregular migrants have tried to cross from France to the UK, and 7,800 irregular migrants have been rescued on the English Channel.

Why are migrants traveling to UK from France?

Many irregular migrants living in the French city of Calais are struggling to survive in bad conditions and trying to cross to England illegally.

Calais, the EU's border gate for the UK after Brexit, has been struggling with the migration problem for many years.

A previous survey of camp survivors in Calais revealed that the vast majority planned to go to the UK, with few wishing to stay in France.

Irregular migrants in Calais and the nearby city of Dunkerque live by the roadside at different points outside the city center, with very inadequate basic human needs such as shelter, toilets, bathrooms, and food.

Human rights defenders and charities in the country criticize the Paris administration for taking insufficient steps regarding the poor conditions that irregular migrants are exposed to and for being insensitive to their problems.

It is mentioned that one of the main reasons that push migrants to the UK is the hard living conditions in Calais and Dunkerque.

What is UK's new plan to tackle illegal migration?

In July, the British parliament brought to its agenda the controversial National and Borders Bill, which envisages the criminalization of illegal entries to the country for asylum.

The UK government argues that if the bill passes, the networks of human smugglers will be destroyed./agencies

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