The British taxpayer must hand over an additional 62.7 million euros (£ 55 million) to France to fund a new crackdown on small boat crossings across the Channel, the Home Office has revealed.
Interior Minister Priti Patel agreed to pay the sum as part of an agreement reached Tuesday with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
At least 430 people crossed the Strait of Pas de Calais on Monday, a single-day record, bringing the total for the year to nearly 8,000 so far. That means 2021 is approaching the total annual figure of 8,417 reached in 2020, according to PA Media’s analysis.
The revelation that the UK has to pay £ 55million to French border patrols is likely to anger MPs who have in the past argued that France should be responsible for the costs.
As part of the deal, the Interior Ministry said the number of police patrolling French beaches will more than double for the second time in a year to prevent small boats from leaving French beaches.
The package also includes the following:
French officers will patrol larger areas of the coastline on the north coast between Boulogne and Dunkirk, and expand their patrols further north-west around Dieppe.
Deployment of extended surveillance technology to improve coverage of the French coast to prevent crossing attempts, including the use of aerial surveillance.
Investment in infrastructure to strengthen border security at major border crossing points along the Channel coast.
The new agreement will enter into force in the coming days.
With support from the UK last year, France doubled the number of officers deployed to French beaches daily, allowing France to prevent twice as many crossings so far this year as ‘during the same period in 2020.
But the Home Office said as French interceptions increased, organized criminal gangs had shifted tactics, moving higher up the French coast and forcing migrants to take even longer and riskier journeys. .
Patel has come under increased pressure from all political parties to bring the crisis under control. The agreement with France comes as the flagship asylum bill is being debated in parliament. Aid groups have said the measures in the bill will do nothing to address the root causes of the Channel crossings.
Despite the increase in these crossings, the UK continues to receive far fewer boat arrivals and asylum claims than many of its European counterparts.
At least 44,230 people have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea so far this year, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Despite the sharp increase in small boat arrivals on the UK’s south coast, asylum claims in Britain fell in 2020 to 29,456. This figure is significantly lower than the 93,475 asylum claims made in France. and to 121,955 in Germany.