UK, France agree to step up patrols to thwart migrant canal crossings
France and Britain have signed an agreement to increase patrols in an attempt to prevent people, especially migrants, from trying to cross the sometimes treacherous Channel. French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin and British Home Secretary Priti Patel had agreed to spend 31.4 million euros ($ 41 million) for coastal surveillance of northern France to make the crossing of the Channel “unsustainable”, said the UK Home Office.
Patel told British media that French authorities had already prevented more than 5,000 migrants from reaching the UK in January. The additional funding consisted of doubling French ground patrols and purchasing new equipment, including radars and drones. The additional funding comes on top of the £ 150m ($ 200m, € 167m) given to France over the past ten years, she said, adding that “we are already seeing fewer migrants leave the French beaches ”.
With ferry traffic strangled by coronavirus restrictions, many migrants have turned to using small boats organized by smugglers to cross the Channel. Last month, an Iranian family, including two parents and their children aged 6 and 9, died when their boat capsized in the English Channel – one of the world’s busiest sea routes. Their 15 month old son was probably drowned.
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