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Calais Migrant Crisis: UK And France Urge EU Action

The UK and France have urged other EU nations to help address the root causes of the Calais migrants crisis.In the Sunday Telegraph, Home Secretary Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve said the situation was a “global migration crisis”.

UK and France urge EU action

Migrants in Calais are making nightly bids to cross the Channel.

The appeal comes as more details emerge of bolstered security measures agreed between the UK and France, including extra private security guards.

The measures planned for around the French end of the Channel Tunnel, which also include more CCTV surveillance, French police reinforcements and extra fencing, were agreed in a phone call between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande on Friday.

More than 600 French riot police have already been deployed to Calais to work alongside local police.

‘Tougher action’

Mrs May and Mr Cazeneuve wrote: “This situation cannot be seen as an issue just for our two countries.

“It is a priority at both a European and international level.

“Many of those in Calais and attempting to cross the Channel have made their way there through Italy, Greece or other countries.

“That is why we are pushing other member states, and the whole of the EU, to address this problem at root.”

They suggested that the long-term solution to the problem would be to persuade would-be migrants hoping for a better life in Europe that “our streets are not paved with gold”.

A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister wanted to see “more security and tougher action at the border”.

Details of the security measures agreed between the two countries include:

  • Extra private security guards, funded by the UK, to boost an existing 200-strong team
  • An increased presence of French police on the borders throughout the summer
  • Additional fencing, funded by the UK, to be installed around the Eurotunnel perimeter as required, with higher boundaries and extra layers where necessary and a large metal barrier to protect Eurotunnel platforms
  • Extra CCTV, infra-red detectors and floodlighting to secure key segments of the perimeter fence

The No 10 spokesman added: “On top of that, we want to help those being affected by the disruption, including securing additional parking zones in Kent to reduce the impact on local residents and businesses.”

Thousands of lorries have been getting parked on the M20 in Kent as part of Operation Stack – implemented whenever there is disruption to Channel crossings – with residents and businesses complaining of knock-on effects including congestion.

Kent Police said Operation Stack had been stood down on Saturday evening and the motorway was now open again in both directions.

Meanwhile, immigration minister James Brokenshire has said rules could be changed to remove taxpayer support for more than 10,000 failed asylum seekers living in the UK with their families.

In the UK, migrants can obtain accommodation and a support allowance worth £36 a week from the moment they claim asylum. This is withdrawn from individuals whose application fails – but failed asylum seekers with families continue to receive support.

Mr Brokenshire said: “I want to introduce new rules to support those who genuinely need it, but send out a very clear message to those who seek to exploit the system that Britain is not a soft touch on asylum.”

There have been thousands of attempts by migrants to access the Eurotunnel terminal in the last week.

A man believed to be Sudanese was killed on Tuesday night while attempting to make the journey. He is the ninth person to have been killed trying to access the the tunnel since the start of June.

Labour’s acting leader, Harret Harman, has written to Mr Cameron calling for compensation from the French government for UK people affected by the Calais crisis.

She said people and businesses should not bear the cost for “border security failures”.

She called on Mr Cameron to request compensation from the French government “backed up by any diplomatic pressure that may become necessary”, saying it should cover all losses.

But Downing Street said pointing the finger of blame was not the right way to find a solution.

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