The French Home Secretary fired another shot in the cross-Channel feud over migrants hours before meeting with UK Home Secretary Priti Patel in Paris, accusing the UK government of the crisis and saying that the UK had to regulate its labor market.
Speaking about the situation in the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk, on the northern coast of France from where thousands of migrants are waiting to reach Britain, Gerald Darmanin said it was the UK’s inaction. Kingdom who had encouraged people to attempt the perilous crossing.
“Why are people going to Calais? To enter Brittany. And why do they want to go to Britain? Because the UK labor market works, in many ways… with irregular workers, ”he said.
He added: “We are not taking lessons from the British… they must stop using us as a punching bag for their domestic politics. We are neither their collaborators nor their assistants.
“I remind my British counterpart that the NGOs which prevent the police and gendarmes from working (in Calais) are for the most part British NGOs with British citizens who are on French territory and who do agitprop.
“The smugglers, who organize networks and exploit women and children… are also very often in Britain.
Darmanin told CNews the UK government needs to change its laws to discourage migrants from being lured into the UK, saying “Britain’s labor market is largely run by a reserve army, as it would say. Karl Marx, made up of irregular people who work at low cost ”. .
“If the British toughened their legislation – they started doing it but not far enough – people would no longer be in Calais or Dunkirk,” he said.
He added: “We are the ones who are negatively affected by British politics and we must not turn the tables. “
Last Thursday, around 1,185 people crossed the Channel by boat, a record number of crossings in a single day. There were concerns that three people drowned in the busy seaway. More than 23,000 people have crossed the Channel to the UK by boat so far this year, a marked increase from 8,400 in 2020. The UK government has accused France of failing to control the situation.
The direct tone of Darmanin’s remarks, after Patel’s remarks this weekend that France “must stop 100% of the boats” attempting to cross, suggests that Monday’s meeting between the two ministers will be extremely tense.
French police say that if they prevent more crossings, they cannot stop all attempts because there are too many migrants, the coastline is too long to patrol around the clock and the smugglers are too skillful to circumvent the measures of security.
Claire Millot, general secretary of the Salam association, which helps migrants on the Calais coast, told French media: “Since this summer, crossings in small boats have increased enormously. There were very few drownings so the news spread and the attempts multiplied.
She said the onset of winter and less favorable weather conditions could lead to more deaths. “It’s about to change, we are very afraid that despite the winter, the crossings will continue and the tragedies too,” she said.