Meeting on immigration of European ministers after the shipwreck in the English Channel

Four days after the worst sinking of migrants in the English Channel, between France and the United Kingdom, European officials meet in the French town of Calais (north) to reinforce the fight “against networks of human smugglers”, without the British, excluded by the government of Paris.

This intergovernmental working meeting will begin at 1400 GMT in the port city of Calais, and will bring together the ministers responsible for immigration from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, as well as the Commissioner for Internal Affairs of the European Union and the agencies European police, Europol, and border control, Frontex.

The meeting seeks to “fight against clandestine immigration and networks of human traffickers”, according to the press release of the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, sent on Saturday. It is about reinforcing “operational cooperation in the fight against traffickers, since they are international networks that operate in different European countries,” people close to the minister explained to AFP.

The meeting will not include the British side, which is nevertheless in the front line: Darmanin on Friday canceled the participation of his counterpart, Priti Patel, in response to a letter sent Thursday by Boris Johnson and posted on Twitter, in which he asked to Paris to take care of the migrants arriving in Britain from the French shores.

In a message to Patel, Darmanin said he was “disappointed” by the demands of the British prime minister, calling it “even worse” for them to be published. French President Emmanuel Macron blamed Johnson for his “non-serious” methods.

– Only two survivors –

The shipwreck, which killed 27 people on Wednesday, is the worst migration drama in the English Channel, turned into a route with daily migrant passages aboard fragile boats.

Crossings increased after the closure in 2018 of the port of Calais and the Eurotunnel to migrants, who took advantage of these points to hide on board vehicles and try to reach the British coast.

According to the rescuers, the migrants tried to cross the Canal aboard a “long boat”, a soft-bottomed inflatable boat that is two meters long, the use of which has been increasing since the summer.

Only one Iraqi and one Somali could be rescued alive.

On Saturday, the vice president of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, said that it was up to Britain to solve its migration problems.

“They left the European Union” and, consequently, “it must now decide how it organizes the management of its border control,” said Schinas.

London accuses Paris of not doing what is necessary to stop these migrant journeys.

But the French Minister of the Interior, Darmanin, affirmed that in the first ten months of the year 30 trafficking networks have been dismantled, for 22 in all of 2020, and 1,500 members of these networks have been arrested.

However, migratory pressure continues and Germany is beginning to be seen as a base of operations for traffickers.


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