UK and France strike deal to clamp down on illegal immigration through the English Channel

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron came to an agreement on tackling the swath of illegal immigration by way of small boats along the English Channel. 

The deal is expected to cost the UK £470 million ($600 million US) over the next three years. Consequently, Sunak said that the two European countries had gone "further than ever before" in cracking down on illegal immigration across the Channel, according to Evening Standard.

"Emmanuel and I share the same beliefs. Criminal gangs should not get to decide who comes to our countries," Sunak said.

"Within weeks of my coming into office, we agreed our largest ever small boats deal and today we've taken our co-operation to an unprecendented level to tackle this shared challenge," he added. 

Sunak's proposition was initially expected to be turned down by Macron, who accused other EU members, including Italy, of refusing to crack down on stopping illegal immigration into France. Sunak was expected to push for a deal that would be similar to the Dublin Regulation

The recent deal includes installing a detention center in France, which will be partially funded by the UK. French personnel will also be involved, equipped with enhanced technology that will be used to monitor beaches, according to the report. 

The UK government said: "The new detention centre will support French efforts to increase detention capacity, allowing more migrants who might otherwise travel by dangerous and illegal routes to the UK to be removed from the French coast."

The UK is set to finance their part of the deal in three-year increments: £124m in 2023-2024, £168m in 2024-2025 and finally £184m in 2025-2026. The UK has also mentioned that the French government will also be injecting significant funding into the project. 

Under the new agreement, highly trained French policeman will be dedicated and focused on tackling the small boats issue. 

The report also noted that aircraft, drones, and other high-tech tools will be used for surveillance. These French objectives will apparently be monitored 24/7, overseen by a what has been called a zonal coordination center. Permanent UK liasion officers will also help with the operations. 

Sunak said: "Right now, on the ground, having boots on the ground, greater co-operation between our teams is the thing that can make the most difference in the short term."

"The priority right now is given the nature and scale of the problem we are facing is doing things that can stop the flow of illegal arrivals coming."

Image: Title: sunak-macron


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