France Seeks European Crackdown On Channel People-smugglers

France seeks European crackdown on Channel people-smugglers

Calais, France, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th Nov, 2021 ) :France sought help from its European neighbours on Sunday to crack down on Channel people-smuggling gangs, with Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin saying he could "not accept" any more deaths after an unprecedented accident claimed 27 lives.

Ministers responsible for immigration from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium convened in the northern French port of Calais on Sunday afternoon, but without Britain which was excluded after a row last week.

"The biggest point for this meeting is the fight against people-smugglers who take advantage of our borders and countries," Darmanin said at the start of the event, adding that "migratory pressures continue and are constantly increasing".

"These deaths are too many," he said of the accident which saw 27 people drown on Wednesday after their inflatable dinghy began losing air crossing the English Channel in wintry temperatures. "We cannot accept that any more people die.

" The main focus was to have been scheduled talks between Darmanin and British counterpart Priti Patel after both countries vowed to cooperate to tackle a surge in crossings this year which has seen around 26,000 people set off from France to England.

But within 48 hours of Wednesday's disaster, French President Emmanuel Macron had accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of being "not serious".

Paris was irked by Johnson's initial reaction, which was seen as deflecting blame onto France, and then by his decision to write a letter to Macron which he published in full on his Twitter account before the French leader had received it.

Patel's invitation to Sunday's talks was withdrawn over the breach of diplomatic protocol, with an aide to Darmanin calling Johnson's letter "unacceptable".

Britain's departure from the European Union has caused years of ill-will between Paris and London, with relations seen as at their lowest point in at least two decades.