In a letter posted on Twitter on Thursday evening, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked “A bilateral readmission agreement allows all illegal immigrants to cross the strait and return.” This letter is “Basic poverty, completely out of place”, The government spokesman Gabriel Atal made an attack on BFM-TV on Friday morning. In response, Home Affairs Minister Gerald Dammanen cancelled the invitation of British Home Affairs Minister Priti Patel to attend Sunday’s meeting devoted to immigration issues.
Our journalist Julia Pascual, expert on immigration issues, and Cécile Ducourtieux, correspondent world In the UK, I answered your question about the diplomatic tension between Paris and London regarding immigration crossing the English Channel.
Thomas: Why has the English Channel become such an important migration route? Does this situation make the agreement on immigration management between France and the United Kingdom obsolete?
Julia Pascual: In 2018, under the influence of the enhanced security of the Port of Calais and the Eurotunnel, the Strait and the North Sea have become important migration routes. With the closure of road and air transportation, there must be a “Covid-19 effect”. People are always looking for a way out. The advantage of cross-sea is “more successful” than others.
Jack: Why don’t we let the exiles take the ferry? The UK resolves the issue of reception or repatriation when they arrive, depending on the situation? After all, this is their border, and they are no longer part of Europe. It will save lives, eliminate smugglers and make money for travel agencies.
JP: The Touquet Agreement and the Sanget Additional Agreement are located on the French side of the border. These are bilateral agreements and ultimately have nothing to do with Britain’s EU membership. What happens if France unilaterally decides not to respect these agreements and let people leave? Britain can process their asylum applications under the Geneva Convention, but they can also decide to deport these people back to France, even though there is no readmission agreement between the two countries. If France violates the treaty, Britain can also decide to sit back and watch the law.
Alexis: Immigration issues between Britain and France have been recurring for several years. Why has this problem become so difficult in such a short period of time?
Cecil Du Coutieux: The phenomenon of “small boats” began to appear in 2018. After the French worked hard to protect the Channel Tunnel, they almost prevented any possibility of immigrants boarding trucks. And, apparently, the human trafficker network has rushed into this lucrative “small boat” niche market by taking advantage of the people’s pain. For NGOs in the UK, passages are not necessarily much more important (in number) than a few years ago (we have successfully passed about 26,000 times since the beginning of 2021), but they are clearly more obvious (ships are arriving almost Between Dover and Dungeness, far-right activists starting with Nigel Farage are filming their arrival), which makes Boris Johnson’s question politically more acute.
Emmerich: If you don’t cooperate, will Britain lose more than France? Can’t France allow immigrants to pass and allow Britain to fend for itself?
CD: In theory, Britain is fully interested in cooperating with France. France is likely to condemn the Touquet Agreement and no longer play the role of guardian of the British border on its own land-politically not easy to assume. The British government sometimes gives the impression of ignoring this reality. Especially because it has no legal means or proper agreements to repatriate migrants who have arrived at the beach. The Johnson government hopes that the British Parliament will quickly pass asylum reforms, which will enable ” Counterattack” (The ship returns to French waters) and sends asylum seekers to “offshore” destinations while reviewing their requests, but no third country has come forward to receive these offshore centers, and at least three British NGOs have announced them Will take legal action against principle “fight back”.
LL44: What makes the UK so attractive to immigrants?
CD: Many immigrants who have tried or succeeded in crossing the strait already have family members there, and they can speak a little or perfect English. Living conditions in the neighbourhood of Calais-rather than survival-are also terrible. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in the UK—just like elsewhere in Europe, but in some cities and towns in the central region, the “gray” illegal labor market is relatively large and may attract some of them. Finally, until the early 2010s, the UK was an easy country to settle from abroad. With the “toxic” environment created by the Home Office and Brexit, this situation has changed a lot, but this reputation for openness can be stubborn.
Pope: Why don’t the French authorities condemn Britain’s “flexible” labor market more frequently? This is one of the reasons why men and women risk their lives when crossing the English Channel?
JP: The authorities often do this. But there are other reasons that inspired England’s aspirations. People have family or community connections throughout the strait. Many immigrants from the Calais region want to seek asylum in the UK because they can no longer do so in Europe. Either because they have been rejected in a certain member state, or because their fingerprints are registered in a member state other than the member state where they want to live. By going to the UK, they hope to get rid of the supervision of Dublin.
Jean-Marc Lutin: What did the Touquet agreement say? And how to challenge them?
JP: France can unilaterally condemn the Touquet agreement. However, a two-year notice was provided, during which time they continued to apply. These agreements stipulate that when trains and ships depart, that is, in France, people heading to the UK will be checked. It is also mutually beneficial for people who want to go to France from the UK. The current government does not seem to want to question Le Touquet. On the one hand, he believes that the treaty allows flow between the two countries because it involves normal flow. On the other hand, he believes that if we condemn the Touquet Agreement, it will send a signal of openness and has the effect of attracting more immigrants to the Calais area to find border crossings. In other words, it will make the “air” worse. Intake’ effect.
Lucy: Did the cross-strait migration reflect the weaknesses and mistakes of one of the main motivations of the Brexit referendum (the idea of the United Kingdom’s border request)?
CD: The withdrawal of border controls, this famous Brexit slogan, is indeed a promise that is difficult to fulfill. The United Kingdom has relied on the goodwill of France through the Touquet Agreement to monitor its borders from the beaches of the Strait of Calais. Without close cooperation with France, without sharing the tasks and costs, and without sharing the reception of migrants, it would be impossible to “take back” border control. But the promoters of Brexit did not deliberately conceal it during the 2016 election. At the time, they even took advantage of the huge lie that Brussels was preparing to include Turkey.
Martin: When did the diplomatic crisis between Paris and London begin? With Brexit?
CD: In fact, this crisis can be explained by Brexit, which is like a poison between Paris and London. Emmanuel Macron has taken a very firm position in all Brexit negotiations-consistent with other Europeans, but more firm. This attitude is considered hostile by the Brexitists, who believe that Paris is doing everything possible to make Brexit a failure. Due to domestic political reasons, Boris Johnson will not hesitate to take advantage of these differences with France: a large number of conservatives like to have good arguments with the French. The history and stubborn prejudice between our two countries have never been far away (the perfidious Albion on the one hand, the President Napoleon on the other, etc.). Paris seemed to be convinced that London was only distributing permits to French fishermen to maintain the quarrel. Paris tends to downplay the difficulties brought about by the Brexit agreement in Northern Ireland. The Aukus alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States was viewed as traumatized by Paris, making the relationship even more harmful.
Cedric: Did Boris Johnson benefit from the support of the British people in this matter?
CD: It can be said that the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU with a 52% (narrow) majority vote in 2016. At that time, preventing the European population, especially the large number of immigrants from the East, was the core argument of the “Brexit” referendum campaign. The dramatic events on Wednesday caused great emotional resonance in the UK and also aroused great sympathy for the victims and their families. But the topic of “immigration” is subtle-just like in France. According to a recent survey by the YouGov Institute, it is now the third focus of the British. The British left (Labor Party) also approached this topic very cautiously, asking “humans” to cooperate more with France, saying that they would not vote for the ministerial asylum reform within Priti Pate, but there is no specific plan.