After the death of 27 refugees in the English Channel, the residents want to crack down on people smugglers. A Frontex aircraft is to monitor the inlet "day and night".
At a crisis meeting on migration across the English Channel, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany agreed to crack down on smugglers. From Wednesday, an aircraft belonging to the EU border protection agency Frontex is to monitor the coast of the English Channel.
The plane will fly over the area from France to the Netherlands "day and night", said French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin after the crisis meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the EU Commission, as well as the Frontex and Europol authorities.
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France's government is ready to work with its "British friends" to stop migrants on their way to Britain, said the French interior minister. But this must be done "at eye level". Great Britain must create legal migration routes and make the illegal employment of refugees more difficult.
However, Darmanin also showed understanding for the plight of the refugees and pointed out the humanitarian dimension of the operation on the coast. It does not help to criminalize the refugees, the French police want to save lives by trying to prevent the dangerous crossings.
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Darmanin had invited to the meeting in Calais, northern France, after 27 people died in the worst refugee accident in the English Channel to date . Originally, the British Home Secretary Priti Patel was also supposed to attend the meeting, but she was removed after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for an agreement with France on the readmission of migrants.
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The French government was not only outraged by the demands of the British side to bring all migrants back to France, but also that Johnson had published the letter to French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter.
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Darmanin said he wanted to consult with his British counterpart Priti Patel again despite the decline: "We want to work with the British, the British are our allies," he said.
However, France does not want to be made hostage of British domestic policy, for which migration policy is currently a "hot topic".
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