France and the UK sign a new agreement to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel
France and the UK sign a new agreement to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel

Paris: France and Britain on Monday signed a new agreement to cooperate to prevent migrants from traveling to England in small boats, a highly contentious issue between the two countries.

According to the agreement, Britain will pay 72.2 million euros (about $74.5 million) to France in 2022-2023 so that Paris can double the number of security personnel on its northern beaches.

Following the agreement, which was signed in Paris by British counterpart Suella Braverman and French Interior Minister Gerald Durmanin, 350 more members of French security forces will be on patrol.

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London and Paris are also committed to using human and technical resources to better locate, monitor and intercept boats off the French coast.

In order to more effectively destroy smuggling networks and discourage crossings, they specifically seek to collect and use information from captured migrants.

Teams of observers will for the first time be placed on both sides of the channel to "strengthen common understanding", enhance expatriate debriefing and promote the exchange of information.

The agreement comes after the UK government revealed on Sunday that a record-breaking 40,000+ migrants have already crossed the channel to the UK this year.

The Defense Ministry reported that the initial total for this year is 40,885, significantly higher than last year's 28,561 and is mainly made up of Albanians, Iranians and Afghans.

After years of tension under his predecessors Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak changed the tone of relations with France, as evidenced by the agreement.

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Migration has been a particularly contentious issue, with London accusing Paris of not doing enough to stop migrants from crossing the Channel, charges that French authorities have vehemently denied.

Emmanuel Macron and Sunak met for the first time last week on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Egypt, and they will do so again this week at the G20 in Indonesia.
In early 2023, they intend to hold a bilateral summit focused on defence.

According to the UK government, 972 people were seen attempting the dangerous crossing in 22 boats on Saturday.
Over the years, the number has been increasing.

According to the UK, the number was found to cross 299 in 2018, 1,843 in 2019 and 8,466 in 2020. The rising numbers have slowed the processing of asylum requests and raised the cost of housing, which is estimated by the UK government at £6.8 million (US$7.8). million) per day, putting pressure on local services and increasing public outcry.

However, after unhygienic conditions developed at an overcrowded asylum processing center in Manston, south east England, refugee rights organizations accuse the government of adopting a harsh and disorganized approach.

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In a joint statement issued on Friday, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna stressed the urgency to combat illegal immigration of all kinds, including small boat traffic, and to address their underlying causes.

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