- Malo Corzino
- BBC News
Priti Patel, Britain’s home secretary, has warned that European politicians’ failure to cooperate to tackle the continent’s migrant crisis could lead to a “much worse scene” in the English Channel this winter.
France is hosting talks with the participation of officials from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the European Commission.
But France withdrew the official invitation it had sent to Patel earlier to those talks due to the row that broke out between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron over the migrant crisis.
Johnson posted last Friday letter He had sent it to the French president, in which he deals with ways to deal with the current situation.
The speech dealt with solving the crisis through five measures; These are joint patrols in the English Channel, use of better technology such as sensors and radars, reciprocal maritime patrols by each side in each other’s territorial waters, stronger cooperation between the intelligence services of the two sides, and negotiation of a return policy for migrants arriving in the United Kingdom and France.
This rhetoric angered French President Emmanuel Macron. In the words of the French government, the speech highlighted the “duplicity” of the United Kingdom.
French dissatisfaction with Johnson’s letter led to the withdrawal of the invitation that the French authorities had sent to British Home Secretary Priti Patel.
But the British government confirmed that despite the withdrawal of the invitation, there will be British representation in the talks scheduled to be held in the French city of Calais.
In light of British-French tensions, Patel said: “The UK cannot handle this problem alone, and across Europe we need to rise to our responsibility and work together in a time of crisis.”
“We will not shy away from the challenge at hand, and I will continue to push for more cooperation between European partners because failure to do so could lead to a much worse landscape in the freezing waters in the coming winter months,” she added.
Patel described her talks with her French counterpart, Gerald Darmannan, as “constructive”.
27 people drowned in the English Channel last Wednesday while trying to cross from France to the United Kingdom. The rubber boat they were on sank at sea.
The International Organization for Migration said that this accident is the largest ever in terms of loss of life resulting from the sinking of a boat in the English Channel since the organization began recording this type of data in 2014.
The deaths of these victims raised many questions about the motives behind the people’s embarkation on this journey and the risks it entails.
For several years, people smugglers have smuggled migrants into the UK in transport trucks. Although it is a less dangerous path than crossing on small boats, there are tragic stories of accidents that occurred during road transport along this road as well, most notably the discovery of the bodies of 39 Vietnamese in a refrigerated truck in 2019.
And tighter security at the French port of Calais – where British border controls are in place – means there are more attempts to take migrants by sea to the UK, according to former UK border chief Tony Smith.
Current statistics indicate that more people have attempted to cross to the UK through the Channel this year than have taken part in those attempts last year so far.