UK to Give £500m to Help France Curb Small Boat Crossings
In a summit between Chancellor Rishi Sunak and President Emmanuel Macron, the UK has agreed to give £500m to France to help combat the increasing number of illegal small boat crossings in the English Channel. The deal was reached as part of a larger £31.4bn package to boost the UK’s border security program.
The funding will go towards increased patrolling, security, and technology along the coast of northern France to prevent smugglers from launching small boats carrying migrants towards the UK. The UK and France have also agreed to establish a joint intelligence cell to gather information and better coordinate efforts against people smuggling.
Despite criticism from some UK lawmakers who believe the country should be focusing on domestic issues, such as coronavirus recovery, Sunak defended the decision, stating that “illegal immigration impacts the safety and security of both the UK and France.”
The agreement was hailed as a successful outcome of the summit, which took place over several hours and included various discussions about environmental issues, trade, and COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The Sunak-Macron love-in continued as the two leaders appeared to bond during the negotiations.
This deal comes just weeks after France and the UK struck a $577m migration deal, in which the UK agreed to pay France to tackle illegal immigration on French soil. With rising numbers of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel in small boats, it remains to be seen if these agreements will have a significant impact on the issue.