New agreement to ease Calais migrant crisis

France-UK sign deal to increase security measures around Eurotunnel

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and British Home Secretary Theresa May sign security deal in Calais, France.

France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and British Home Secretary Theresa May have signed a security deal in Calais on Thursday, aiming to ease the migrant crisis.

Their visit began with a tour of the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles to check security measures.

The purpose of the deal is to secure the area, tackle human smugglers and provide humanitarian aid for migrants in Calais, France’s major ferry port, where thousands are camping in an attempt to reach the UK, by crossing Channel Tunnel right between France and Britian.

British police, French officers and the UK Border Force are to collaborate for the new “command and control center” that will be set up after the deal is signed. Two senior officers from both sides will be in charge at the center and report to their own governments.

Some of the other measures in the new agreement will be extra policing units, higher fences, new surveillance cameras, flood lighting and infrared detection technology to stop migrants from getting into trucks and trains.

Speaking during her Eurotunnel tour, the Home secretary said Belgium and the Netherlands are also in negotiation about preventing new migrant routes from emerging, while Cazeneuve told journalists, “Our cooperation will not be restricted to security operations, we’ve also talked about the humanitarian aspect and would like to improve the way in which women and children, who are in a highly vulnerable situation, are welcomed. Precisely because they are vulnerable, they are the hands of human trafficking networks.”

Around 3,000 people are currently living in the Calais camps which are also referred to “the Jungle.”

Last month, a Sudanese man was crushed to death by a lorry while trying to cross the channel, an attempt that has also killed at least 10 people since June.

British politicians have accused France of failing to maintain security in the area, while Paris has blamed London for easily letting migrants work illegally, which is bringing them to their shores.

But the migrant crisis is also ongoing across the world. Just in 2015, over 240,000 migrants have reached Greece and Italy’s shores through the Mediterranean to escape war, conflict and poverty. Germany says it is expecting at least 800,000 asylum applications by the end of 2015.

Also, thousands of migrants are thought to be stranded at sea, trying to reach Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

However, for the past few years Turkey has welcomed migrants more than any other country in the world. There are currently 1.8 million Syrians living in Turkey, who were forced to leave their country due to war and conflict.

TRTWorld and agencies