French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, has called on the British government to fulfil its duty and pay €63 million (£54 million) that the latter had promised in order for migrants not to reach its shores.
Darmanin’s comments came during a visit to the northern port of Dunkirk on Sunday, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“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,” Darmanin said to the reporters on Sunday.
On the other hand, the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has suggested that the payment promised to France be delayed if the latter won’t work harder to stop illegal immigration boats from reaching the British territory.
Despite low temperatures, more than 1,000 people in small and inadequate boats made the trip across the English Channel to the UK in two days. Although the illegal migration numbers, thus, the number of people trying to reach the UK dropped during the pandemic, the practice is making its comeback as the world is gradually reopening.
Moreover, Darmanin noted that “the migratory pressure is returning after COVID” and that France can hold back this practice.
According to him, the French authorities at present are holding 75 per cent of the boats headed to the UK, but the authorities could hold back 100 per cent of the boards if the British government pays its share of €63 million, as both countries agreed earlier this year.
In July, the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel and Darmanin agreed for the French authorities to prevent boats from reaching the UK, in exchange for €63 million, which will be used to fund more police patrolling bodies across French beaches.
Moreover, Kim Bryan from Channel Rescue, a volunteering organisation, told BBC that pushbacks from officials in jet skis had been noted in the last two weeks. She also noted that the boats are fragile and that waves of jet skies could cause them to collapse.
According to the PA news agency, more than 17,000 people in small boats have successfully reached the Dover Strait near the British shores in 2021.
On the other hand, the EU is also dealing with an increasing number of immigrants as the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, FRONTEX, has revealed that over 103,630 people have illegally entered the EU since the beginning of the year.
Moreover, the number of illegal border crossings increased by 53 per cent, counting 17,788 detections. The highest number of illegalities was noted in the Mediterranean, Balkan and Western African routes, with a 90 per cent increase.