UK and France working on new plan to prevent migrant crossings
Immigration minister Chris Philp has said that the UK and France are discussing new measures to prevent migrants from crossing the English Channel.
Following talks in Paris, Philp said that the UK would support the measures financially but stopped short on revealing what commitments could be made at this stage.
He added that both British and French officials had reached a consensus that crossing the Channel should be made “unviable”.
Over 4,000 people have successfully crossed the Channel to Great Britain on small boats in 2020 alone.
Philp called the number of migrants attempting the Channel crossing “completely unacceptable”, even though French forces have managed to intercept over a thousand people.
He said that a new “comprehensive action plan” being discussed would look to deter migrants from having “reason at all to come to France in the first place”.
Philp explained: "We have worked on a joint operational plan with the objective in mind of completely cutting this route.
"We're going to be working at pace in the coming days to make that plan a reality."
Philp did not disclose details of the plan, but said that a “number of measures, some of them new” were under consideration.
Following a request for assistance from the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence has deployed an RAF Atlas transport aircraft to help the UK Border Force detect and apprehend approaching boats. Since last Thursday, over 600 people attempting to cross the Channel have been intercepted.
Referring to the EU Dublin Regulation which the UK must follow until the post-Brexit transition period lapses in December, Philp said that the current law came with a "number of constraints" which made moving asylum seekers on "a little bit harder" than the government would like.
The regulation allows EU states to transfer asylum seekers to other countries in the bloc to have their applications processed.
Philp echoed the government's words in hoping for a "fresh approach" to asylum policy going into 2021.