Darmanin demands from the British “the 63 million euros” promised on immigration

PROMISE – Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Saturday 9 October called on the British government to “keep its promise” of financial support for the fight against migratory traffic on the French coasts and called for the negotiation of a treaty on the subject between London and the EU.

“We need to negotiate a treaty – since Michel Barnier did not do it when he negotiated Brexit – which binds us on migration issues”, he said during a trip to Loon-Plage , in the North, where migrants try to cross the Channel every day to reach England.

“I told the British government and we are awaiting its response to initiate these discussions,” he added, promising that France will carry this project when it holds the six-monthly presidency of the European Union in January.

“We have a tunnel together, we have a sea in common and then we have been friends for a very long time”, pleaded the minister.

The question of these crossings is regularly the source of friction between London and Paris, which has recently crystallized on the financial question.

“The (British) government has not yet paid what it promised us,” said Gerald Darmanin.

“We call on the British to keep their promise of funding since we hold the border for them,” he continued.

France, “an ally of Great Britain”

The United Kingdom pledged at the end of July to pay France 62.7 million euros in 2021-2022 to finance the strengthening of French law enforcement on the coasts.

According to the British press, the British Minister of the Interior Priti Patel had however threatened in early September not to pay this sum, in the face of record arrivals of migrants crossing the Channel illegally.

“The 63 million evoked by the British government, so far we have not seen the financial color. However, gendarmes were hired in addition, technological means were purchased to guard this border, ”explained Gérald Darmanin.

He claimed that France was “an ally of Britain” but “not its vassal”. “We are here to hold a border, it’s true. But we are in favor of doing it in complementarity with our British friends ”, he added.

According to him, arrests of illegal boats have increased by 15 points over the past three months, from “from 50% to 65% of boats arrested”.

“We must be able to reach almost 100% if we put all these means and if our British friends continue to help us as they do”, he estimated.

Gérald Darmanin also affirmed having received the assurance of the director of the European border surveillance agency Frontex that this agency would be “there” by “the end of the year” to help monitor the area, in particular via aerial surveillance.

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