Video shows Calais migrants storming UK-bound vehicles

Video recorded by tourists shows migrants bundling into trucks in order to enter the UK

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A video recorded by tourists in the northern French port town Calais shows migrants piling themselves into a UK-bound truck in order to cross into Britain.

The video has gone viral and reached more than 500,000 views on YouTube.

Seeing the migrants, one of the tourists in the video asked “don't they police this stuff?”

A guide is heard responding "they are not allowed into the country.”

According to the date the video was recorded, the migrants tried to cross the French border when transportation was prevented due to French officials trying to defuse a World War II bomb in Calais.

Calais has long attracted immigrants who want to escape from wars and poverty. There are around 3,000 refugees from Somalia and Syria in Calais at the moment.

Mayor of Calais, Natasha Bouchart, said that the migrants use trucks and boats to enter Britain due to its loose surveillance system and generous welfare system.

Bouchart said that “they [the immigrants] want to go to England because they can expect better conditions on arrival there than anywhere else in Europe or even internationally.”

“There are no ID cards. They can easily find work outside the formal economy, which is not really controlled. Calais is a hostage to the British. The migrants come here to get to Britain. The situation here is barely manageable,” Bouchart added.

“The UK border should be moved from Calais to the English side of the Channel because we're not here to do their jobs.”

Migrant dispute deepens

The video has highlighted why France and Italy are arguing so strongly for the migrant crisis to be solved.

Regarding a hunger strike carried out by migrants at an Italian train station near the French border as they seek entry to France, the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that France will apply EU asylum rules and will not allow any migrant into the country who have already registered within Italian borders.

“They shouldn't come back [to France] and they must be taken in by Italy,” Cazeneuve added.

"We need to obey the rules of Schengen and Dublin. When migrants arrive in France that have been through Italy and registered there, the European law applies and that means they must be returned to Italy."

Cazeneuve’s emphasis on following the Dublin rules comes after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi accused other European countries of leaving the burden of migration to countries along the southern Mediterranean coast without providing the necessary support to tackle the crisis, and his demand for a change of EU migrant policy.

The EU Dublin policy gives the responsibility for migrants to the first country they reach. When Italy called for changes, France insisted that it did not want any changes in migrant policy.

The Schengen treaty allows for the free movement of people across the EU but France and Austria have restricted entry to migrants from Italy, leaving hundreds stranded in train stations in large Italian cities such as Rome and Milan.

Renzi said that "if the European Council chooses solidarity, then good. If it doesn't, we have a Plan B ready but that would be a wound inflicted on Europe."

The interior minister of Italy, Angelino Alfano, meanwhile warned that "if Europe does not fulfil its own responsibilities and show solidarity, it will find a different Italy facing it."

Following a recent incident when migrants were injured while migrant camps in Paris and Calais were removed, French officials decided to reduce the border control in Calais and other borders.

Truck drivers in danger

The recent viral video has also shed light on another issue. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) told the Mayor of Calais, Britain and the EU Commission that truck drivers are facing dangers during their route from Calais to the British port of Dover.

Deputy chief executive of the FTA James Hookham said that because of the possibility of people smuggling, drivers have to face with lengthy delays at the borders.

"We are pressing for more visible commitment from the French government to criminal activities on French soil and their responsibilities for the protection of British drivers while in their jurisdiction,” Hookham added.

"We are expecting further work with the Home Office and Border Agency on specific topics in the coming weeks. This is an issue that requires committed and proactive attention by the government, hauliers and their customers."

Immigrants and refugees

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on June 9 that more than 100,000 people have attempted to reach continental Europe by crossing the Mediterranean since January.

The UNHCR stated that almost 103,000 people have risked their lives through boat trips on the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Europe, where the issue of migrants and refugees has raised domestic and international concerns.

According to figures released by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), nearly 1,800 people have lost their lives in the mass drownings and boat capsizes so far this year in the Mediterranean.

The European Commission has recently proposed a migrant quota for each member country to distribute an intake of 40,000 migrants among EU member states.

The proposed document gives migrant quotas in accordance with EU countries’ GDP levels, population and number of migrants already living in those countries.  

While France and Germany demand a revision in the quota rates, Britain rejected the quota completely, saying it would harm the British economy.

TRTWorld and agencies