,We need stronger European cooperation in this area.” After drowning, in which at least 27 people were killed among migrants trying to cross Emmanuel Macron on a boat, near the Channel, Calais (Pas-de-Calais), Wednesday 24 November Calls for better cooperation with Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK to fight smugglers better “Those Who Use Crisis”,
This play reminds us that the issue of migration is not new in this part of Europe. ,It has been more than twenty years that there are expatriates in Calais “, says Virginie Guiradon, CNRS research director at the Center for European Studies, affiliated with SciencePo Paris. FranceInfo interviewed him and tried to understand why France and the United Kingdom are shifting responsibility on the issue.
>> LIVE: Follow the latest information and reactions after migrants drown in the channel
Franceinfo: The drama on Wednesday is not the first in the channel?
Virginie Guiradon: No, but it is the most important on this sea. We must not forget that the cemetery of Europe is located in the Mediterranean Sea. However, the great tragedy of people dying in lorries trying to get to Britain has already happened. In June 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in a refrigerated truck in Dover. Wednesday’s drama was predictable, with traffickers trying to bring people to Britain for over twenty years. But if we look at the official figures, the departure for two years has been quite high. There are two relevant factors: controls were strengthened at the port of Calais, then COVID-19, as well as containment, slowed down traffic. [entre les deux pays], So it was more difficult to go unnoticed while boarding the truck, hence the idea of going by sea.
> Overseas: Why are there so many crossings in the United Kingdom this year?
Who is responsible for this tragedy?
France and the United Kingdom are passing buck. Gerald Dormann, Minister of the Interior, also transferred responsibility to other European countries, accusing countries of the East or the South. He says that if people do reach Calais, it is because there are not enough upstream checks. This raises questions on Schengen. Everyone tries not to take responsibility.
“The United Kingdom, democratically, even under the government of Boris Johnson, through the populist, tabloid press, blames France for not adequately controlling the borders.”CNRS. Virginie Guiradon, Director of Research
Under the Touquet Agreement, signed in 2003, France agreed to control the British border. Emmanuel Macron promised to condemn these agreements, but there is no one in the Elysee that adheres to the migration issue. This is not one of its priorities, although it is constantly in the news.
How do these two countries, France and the United Kingdom intervene in such a rescue operation?
There are 30 km between Calais and Dover, so there is no international water. These are French or British territorial waters. To defend, each country has an area it is responsible for, then it is up to it to help. But there have been cases where people pleaded for help in Britain, who replied that it was not for them to intervene, but for the French. Sometimes there are games, about sovereignty, who is about to intervene, a small macabre. This is hard to answer for the recent drama, I have no idea where the boat was located.
> report. “But how many are on it?” : We started with rescuers from Boulogne-sur-Mer who help migrants
Why do these expatriates want to join the United Kingdom at all costs?
Initially, these migrants have relations with the country that attracts them: language, family, community. One idea also held steady, albeit less relevant: one that suggested that it was much easier to find work in a liberal economy. Since 2015 and the ‘migrant crisis’, we have seen something new: today we find people in Calais who have come after years of chaotic travel. They end up there after being rejected in other countries. The UK is no longer an option, but a last possibility. This phenomenon is called secondary migration.
> report. Overseas: UK Channel Crossing Challenge Kentish Hospitality
Why don’t they want to live in France? You’ll have to see how it goes here. These migrants do not really know where they are being sent, are not able to work until they have achieved a position. Every day in Calais camps are dismantled, we are completely safe. There is no point in living there.
Control of a port or a station is possible, but of a coast, much more extensive, much more complex…
Yes, for two reasons. There are a lot of boats going out at the same time, it could be 10 or 20. Some will be there, others will be saved, others will be seen. Then, from the moment a place is specifically controlled, such as Calais, departures spread across the coast, from the Gulf of the Somme to Normandy.
> report. Migrants: On the shores of Pas-de-Calais, “like impotence” compared to illegal crossings of the Channel
Emmanuel Macron announced that he wants “European cooperation” against smugglers, but how to fight against this system, which is sometimes too lucrative?
The hawker exists only because it is difficult to cross. There are many types of smugglers. There are local, almost artistic initiatives. But since it has become so lucrative – some Chinese expatriates who come to the United Kingdom can pay up to 30,000 euros – we are almost in guilt. Calais has both. Some measures have been implemented to eliminate this area. Police, Coast Guard, Border Guard are many, but it is not their responsibility. Fighting smugglers is a truly international investigative task, because we are dealing with a very sophisticated network.
“Hanging more police officers will drive up route prices as it will be even more difficult to find a place without surveillance.”CNRS. Virginie Guiradon, Director of Research
How can the EU affect this issue?
In matters of immigration and asylum, European policy is essentially based on the control of external borders. The UK is not really cooperating on these issues. An example: In 2016, we destroyed the “Calais Jungle”, where there were over 700 single minors who had families in the United Kingdom. During the conversation, London said that the files would be studied. But less than 20 of these 700 young migrants have crossed the channel. This problem will clearly be on the agenda of the French President of the European Union, which will begin on January 1, 2022.
Can this problem be fixed?
People have been in Calais for more than twenty years, But for more than twenty years we have been blaming someone else. This problem is essentially solved with the strengthening of human and technical resources. It starts with a poor analysis of what migration is and why. The migrants in this story are slightly corrected. If you don’t understand why people are there and why they’re trying to cross, it’s hard to solve it.
Aren’t we safe from facing other tragedies like this?
We’re entering the winter period, so it doesn’t necessarily turn over, but people can die from hypothermia. There will be deaths, I don’t see how we can avoid it.
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