No Hope of Progress on Channel Migrant Crisis Until After French Elections: Report

DUNGENESS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Migrant men are aided ashore by members of the R.N.L.I. and Border Force officials after making the journey across the English Channel from France during heavy fog on December 19, 2021 in Dungeness, England. There has been over a threefold increase in the number of …
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Emmanuel Macron’s France is making absolutely no effort to help solve the deadly Channel migrant crisis because cooperating with the British so close to an election would not be politically opportune, a report claims.

2021 was a deadly year in the English Channel, with at least 29 migrants killed by greedy, murderous people-traffickers demanding high prices in return for passage on unseaworthy boats crossing one of the most crowded waterways in the world. Despite the clear need to break up the killer gangs and restore order in the English Channel, neither London nor Paris have progressed beyond blaming each other for the crisis, with France’s intransigence blamed in part on its forthcoming presidential election.

The idea that the French government won’t engage with Britain — Perfidious Albion in the French popular imagination — because it could damage the re-election prospects of the grandstanding President Macron has been buttressed by fresh claims published in The Times of London.

Citing anonymous government sources including, they claim, “Senior Home Office staff”, the British newspaper of record said that British government officials had all but given up trying to make any progress with the French on border control, and will be putting plans to Paris after the April 2022 Presidential Election have concluded.  The report said they hoped whoever won the vote would be ready to be “realistic” with the British after winning — although doing little about the issue has worked well enough for them so far, given Britain’s governing Tory party is making no effort to sanction them for it.

The newspaper’s unnamed source said of the situation: “Macron’s officials just sat there saying ‘non, non, non,’ to all our proposals. They didn’t have to say it but they were basically saying there’s no chance of a breakthrough before the election… With it being so close to the election, it’s politically difficult for him to be offering any kind of significant concessions to the British.”

Any hope of a future accommodation being reached between the United Kingdom and France actually meaning fewer migrants coming to British shores overall would seem to be dashed by the claims made, however, given the likely form of a future agreement is claimed to amount to a migrant exchange programme. Under the terms of the theoretical deal which both sides could be considered likely to agree to, France would agree to take back illegal migrants who reached the United Kingdom on smuggler boats if Britain agreed in return to take other migrants in France. The net reduction in migration, presumably, would therefore be zero.

While the Channel migrant crisis was declared a “major incident” by the British government as long ago as 2018, it really developed into its present deadly form with the onset of the Wuhan virus lockdowns, which saw reduced regular Channel crossings by freight, lorries, and private cars, which had long provided the regular route for irregular, clandestine immigration.

People-smugglers were happy to oblige their customers with a new means of crossing using the deadly business model honed in the Mediterranean over years to provide bad boats at high prices.

The development has been a deadly one. At least 29 people drowned in the English Channel this year, including a male in August after a smuggler’s boat started taking on water, a man in October who fell off a boat off the Essex coast, and 27 people who died when their boat sank in November. The actual total could be far more: the Missing Migrant Project claims 44 people are missing or known dead after trying to cross the English Channel in 2021.

The United Nations says 166 have been recorded dead or missing in the Channel in all since 2014.

As well as being a record year for migrant deaths in the English Channel, 2021 also saw an all-time high number of migrant boat crossings in total, with a record 28,000 landing in Britain.

The number of migrants detected as having lied about their age to gain preferential treatment as ‘children’ also trebled in the year, although given the government’s policy of not challenging anyone who does not look over 25 on their age the true total is likely higher.

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