France beef up rescue at sea work, spars with UK over migrant deaths

  • Twenty-seven migrants died when their dinghy emptied
  • Great Britain and France trade blame over the incident
  • macron says France trembles up rescue operations at sea

CALAIS, France/ZAGREB, Nov. 25 (Reuters) – France said: on Thursday it was mobilizing and trembling reservists up rescue operations at sea as London and Paris blamed each other over the dead of 27 migrants try to reach Britain in an inflatable boat.

The migrants – including a child – drowned when their dinghy emptied in the canal on Wednesday, one of many such risky journeys have tried each year in rickety, overloaded boats like people flee poverty and conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.

The dead have created more animosity between countries already at odds over brexit, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Says France Was Guilty minister Home Office Gerald accuses Britain of “bad immigration management”.

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President Emmanuel Macron defended Paris’ actions but said France was just a transit country for many migrants and more European cooperation was needed to tackle illegal immigration.

“I will say very clearly that our security forces are mobilized day and night,” Macron said during a visit to the Croatian capital Zagreb, promising “maximum mobilization” of French troops, with reservists and drones watch the coast.

“But above all, we need to seriously strengthen cooperation … with Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the European Commission.”

A smuggler arrested overnight had bought dinghies in Germany, and many intersect via Belgium before reaching the northern coasts of France on their way to Britain, French officials said.

SENSITIVE POLITICAL PROBLEM

Wednesday’s incident was the worst of his kind on record in the waterway die Britain and France separates, one of the worldthe busiest shipping lanes.

Loaded with relationships over Brexit and immigration, a lot of the focus on Thursday was on who should responsibility even though both sides have vowed to find joint solutions.

“We have had difficulty convince some of our partners, especially the French, to do things in An way that we think the situation deserves,” Johnson said.

Britain reiterated offer for joint Anglo-French patrols off the French coast at Calais.

“I have offered to work with France to convert more officers on the ground and do absolutely whatever it takes to area so vulnerable people Do not risk through their lives in to board unseaworthy boats”, minister said Priti Patel.

Paris has resisted such calls and it is unclear of it will change its mind five months before the presidential election in which migration and security are important topics.

They are also sensitive issues in Britain, where Brexit campaigners told voters leaving the European Union would mean taking back control of the national borders.

London has in the past threatened to cut financial support for French border police if Paris is not there in manages to stop the flow of migrants.

France invites interior ministers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain, as well as the European Commission, to a meeting on Sunday in Calais, de prime minister’s office said.

EU Commissioner for Migration Ylva Johansson said she would later met Darmanin would talk on Thursday in the offer financial help and help from the Bloc Border Guard force Frontex.

‘A TRAGEDY WE FEAR’

Rescue volunteers and human rights groups said such drowning incidents were to be expected, net as smugglers and migrants more risks for avoid a growing police presence.

“Only blaming the smugglers is hiding responsibility” of the French and British authorities,” said the NGO Auberge de Migrants.

It and other NGOs pointed to a lack of legal migration routes and increased security at the Eurotunnel undersea rail link, die migrants to make the dangerous crossing over to make sea.

“This is a tragedy we feared, die was expected, we had raised the alarm,” said Bernard Barron, head of the Calais region SNSM, a volunteer group die saves people at sea.

But Britain rejected one of the NGOs main to demand.

Provide a safe route for migrants to apply for asylum from France would only add factors to attract die to be encouraging people to make dangerous journeys, Johnson’s spokesman said when asked about the possibility of a safe remedy of to request asylum in France.

“We need to tackle illegal migration upstream and in front people reach the French coast,” he said.

The number of migrants die Crossing the Channel has so far increased to 25,776 in 2021, up from 8.461 in 2020 and 1835 in 2019, according to the BBC, stating: government data.

Before the disaster of Wednesday, 14 people would have drowned this year trying to reach Britain, a Frenchman official said. In 2020, seven people died and two disappeared while in 2019 four died.

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Reporting by Ardee Napolitano in Calais, Lucien Libert in Zagreb, Alistair Smout, Paul Sandle and Kylie MacLellan in London, Richard Lough and Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris, Gabriel Baczynska in Brussels; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Mike Collett-White, Timothy Heritage and Giles Elgood

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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