France calls for a migration deal between the UK and the 27 EU member states after a busy weekend in the Channel as 1,100 people arrived in England on small boats.
The spike in the number of people making the risky trip came amid a period of balmy weather and an ongoing feud between authorities on both sides of the water.
The French government accused the UK of breaking its word on a £ 54million ($ 73.5million) funding deal, saying “not a euro has been paid”.
Speaking to Sky News on Monday morning, Damian Hinds, Britain’s Minister for Security and Borders, said there were still “administrative arrangements” to be made, but the money should start flowing “within weeks. future “.
Despite strong criticism from the French, Mr. Hinds insisted that the government maintains “good and constructive” relations with Paris.
He said that the efforts of the French authorities to stem the flow of boats across the Channel were “absolutely invaluable” in the fight against illegal immigration, but that “there are still too many people attempting this journey which takes place. their life in danger ”.
French Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin called for a deal that encompasses the entire EU, not just France, and the former bloc member Britain.
He said the French government would defend such a pact when it took over the rotating EU presidency in January.
“We have to negotiate a treaty, since Mr. [Michel] Barnier did not do this when he negotiated Brexit, which binds us on migration issues, ”said Mr Darmanin.
After his visit to Dunkirk, in northern France, on Saturday, Mr. Darmanin said “not a euro has been paid” to the French by the United Kingdom under their existing agreement.
“We are asking the British to keep their funding promises because we are holding the border to them,” he said.
Home Secretary Priti Patel recently threatened to withhold funding unless more people are prevented from reaching the UK.
She also called on British border forces officers to prepare to push back the boats into French waters. Officers have been seen performing drills in the English Channel, but the controversial tactic has yet to be implemented.
Border Force has had a busy weekend and recovered more than 1,100 people at sea in two days, which should be the last influx of boats before the colder weather sets in.
After 10 days in which no crossings were possible due to bad weather, at least 40 boats managed to reach Britain on Friday and Saturday.
So far this year, more than 18,000 people have made it to the UK on small boats, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.
A total of 624 people reached the UK on Friday – the fourth highest daily tally on record during the current crisis.
Crossings continued on Saturday with at least 491 people – including children and a newborn – arriving in Britain after making the perilous journey.
The figures were confirmed by the Interior Ministry on Sunday morning, when the Border Force was again active in the Channel.
Baby Ayyan spent nine hours at sea aboard a boat with her mother and other migrants before being picked up by the British charity Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Staff wrapped the little girl in a blanket and handed her to a police officer at a beach in Dungeness, Kent.
Her mother told Sky News she embarked on the crossing with her daughter to have the “best life” for them, and said the baby was doing well, despite the circumstances.
Another migrant on the boat who translated for the woman said French authorities made no attempt to stop their boat.
More people were seen arriving in Dover on Sunday as the crossings continued for a third day in a row.
French authorities said they had rescued 340 people at sea on Sunday after their boats encountered difficulties.
Update: October 11, 2021, 8:42 a.m.