The day after the massacre of migrants in the English Channel, with at least 27 dead (including three children and a pregnant woman), the tension between France and Great Britain rises. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked Paris to take back all the refugees who have crossed the canal. “I propose to put in place a bilateral readmission agreement to allow the repatriation of all illegal migrants who cross the Channel,” said Johnson (LO SPECIAL MIGRANTI).
Tensions between Paris and London
In the past few hours it seemed that Paris and London, after their respective exchanges of accusations, had decided to put aside tensions to prevent the Channel from becoming the second open-air cemetery in Europe, after the Mediterranean. On Wednesday evening, French President Emmanuel Macron and Johnson, as a spokesman for Downing Street said, attempted to overcome the poisons in a telephone conversation by agreeing “on the urgent need to increase joint efforts to prevent crossings and do everything possible to stop traffickers who put the lives of migrants at risk. However, after 24 hours, Johnson used decidedly less conciliatory tones. In fact, he asked the French to take back all the migrants who left Calais. A request that risks provoking a harsh reaction from Paris.
Sunday meeting in Calais
Macron had called for “stronger European cooperation” to dismantle smuggling networks. Words in line with those of the British Interior Minister Priti Patel, who called for a “coordinated international effort” and reiterated London’s offer – currently rejected by Paris – of joint patrols on the French coasts. France then invited the ministers in charge of immigration from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain, as well as the EU Commission, to a meeting on Sunday in Calais. A meeting, explained the services of Prime Minister Jean Castex, which has the objective of “defining the ways and means to strengthen police, judicial and humanitarian cooperation” but also “to fight more effectively against passeur networks”.
The victims of the shipwreck
Meanwhile, investigations into the shipwreck continue. According to the Lille prosecutor’s office, the victims are 17 men, 7 women and 3 children. Two survivors recovered in severe hypothermic conditions. In Calais, other migrants close to the victims are in shock, while five alleged smugglers have been detained. “Today we mourn the victims but we must also act to ensure that this cannot happen again”, said the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, deploring “the latest in a long series of tragedies that have occurred in the seas surrounding Europe” The drama took place aboard a long boat, an inflatable boat that departed from Dunkirk carrying Kurds, Iraqis, Iranians and Afghans who dreamed of reaching England.