FRANCE has upped the stakes in its war of words with Britain over migrants illegally trying the cross the English Channel to the UK – by demanding the £54million it says it has been promised to stop them doing so.
And French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has also sought to pin the blame on London by telling Boris Johnson Britain needs to make itself less “attractive” to people who lacked the necessary credentials. Mr Darmamin, speaking during a visit to the northern port of Dunkirk, said “migratory pressure” was returning after COVID,” stressing that France, led by President Emmanuel Macron, had increased its efforts to stop it.
French maritime authorities were now preventing 75 percent of migrant boats from crossing the 30-mile channel which separates England from France, Mr Darmamin stressed.
However, he said it would be possible to reach 100 percent if the UK paid the £54 million which was pledged at a meeting in July.
The money is intended to bankroll France’s plan to double the number of police patrolling French beaches.
For now, not one euro has been paid
Mr Darmanin told journalists: “For now, not one euro has been paid.
“We are asking the British to keep their promises of financing because we are holding the border for them.”
Mr Darmanin also said Britain needed to take steps to reduce its “attractiveness” to migrants, without explaining what he meant.
He added: “We are speaking of human beings. There are children, babies who are taking these boats, who are risking their lives.
“There are people who die in the Channel. I don’t what them to be hostage to political debates.”
Mr Darmanin also said more coordination with other European Union countries was required, pointing out that half of the migrants trying to cross from France to Britain came into his country from neighbouring Belgium.
French authorities arrested 120 migrant traffickers and detained 4,000 people attempting to cross the Belgium-France border last month, twice the number arrested in August, he said.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has indicated her willingness to withhold the cash if France does not do more to prevent crossings.
Migrants have a long history of travelling to northern France in a bid to get to Britain, either stowing away on lorries. “Brinkwire Summary News”.