The migrant crisis in the English Channel is escalating, with France pushing for an EU-wide agreement on crossings.


The migrant crisis in the English Channel is escalating, with France pushing for an EU-wide treaty on border crossings.

According to a senior official, France plans to pursue a “zero balance” migrant deal between the EU and the UK.

The French government plans to use its six-month presidency of the EU council of ministers to negotiate an asylum and migration agreement with the United Kingdom in order to establish a legal and reciprocal immigration system between the two countries.

According to a senior French government official, the goal is to allow people to “legally seek asylum in the United Kingdom.”

“Obviously, that means reciprocity,” they added, implying that people denied asylum in the United Kingdom could be sent back to the EU country where they first arrived.

“We would be willing to consider this,” the source told The Guardian.

Such an arrangement existed before the UK left the EU, but the Government was denied an asylum pact during the Brexit negotiations, which would have allowed the UK to return people denied asylum to the EU.

Now, with France seemingly determined to control migration, the EU may be forced to give the UK what it originally requested.

“The idea is to have a zero balance at the end of the day,” the source stated.

The source claimed that not only France, but also Belgium and the Netherlands were “struggling with a major problem” as thousands of people entered their countries in search of a way to the United Kingdom, and that the treaty was “a very important European question, not just a French question.”

However, it is unclear whether the rest of the EU and the United Kingdom are willing to negotiate such a deal.

Last month, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson stated that the EU-UK relationship has deteriorated as a result of the Brexit talks.

“We have quite a few concerns with the implementation of the TCA [Trade and Cooperation Agreement] and the protocol on Northern Ireland right now,” she told the press, “so I should guess that member states’ appetite to go into negotiations for a new agreement [on migration]… is limited.”

In 2020, France received 93,470 asylum requests, second only to Germany in the EU, and the United Kingdom received 29,456.

Meanwhile, the number of migrants rescued off the coast of Calais and taken in by France more than tripled in 2021, according to the Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII).

“The number of people,” said OFII to AFP.

“Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”


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