French minister calls on UK to fulfil promises over migrant crossings cash

·2-min read

None of the £54 million the UK promised to France to tackle migrant crossings has been paid, a French minister has claimed as he urged the British Government to fulfil its promises.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said “not one euro has been paid” following a visit to Dunkirk on Saturday.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Home Secretary Priti Patel signed an agreement with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Earlier this year, the Government pledged to send millions of pounds to support French efforts to stop the crossings.

However Home Secretary Priti Patel recently threatened to withhold the funding unless more people were stopped from reaching the UK.

More than 17,000 people have succeeded in making the dangerous trip across the Dover Strait aboard small boats in 2021, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.

“For now, not one euro has been paid,” Mr Darmanin told the Associated Press.

“We are asking the British to keep their promises of financing because we are holding the border for them.”

He also called on Britain to take measures to reduce its “attractiveness” for migrants without residency papers, without elaborating.

“We are speaking of human beings. There are children, babies who are taking these boats, who are risking their lives. There are people who die in the Channel. I don’t what them to be hostage to political debates,” he said.

Meanwhile in Dover on Saturday, dozens of people were seen being brought ashore by Border Force after making the perilous Channel crossing.

A woman was seen ushering a small child ahead of her as the pair were guided up a gangway by a border official.

It came after a large number of people are thought to have succeeded in reaching the UK on Friday.

The Home Office has yet to provide numbers on arrivals for Friday or Saturday.

A Home Office spokesman said: “This year record numbers of people have put their lives in the hands of ruthless people smugglers and risked perilous channel crossings from French beaches.

“Joint cooperation with the French has led to nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions and prevented more than 13,500 crossings. But with hundreds still risking their lives and making the crossing, all sides must do more.”

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