France, UK sign new deal to end record numbers of migrants crossing the Channel

© Sameer al-Doumy / AFP

A new deal between the UK and France to fight the lucrative and dangerous business of people-smuggling was announced on Monday as a record 40,000 migrants were recorded as having crossed the English Channel to Britain so far this year.

UPDATE 07h30UT: France and the UK have signed a new agreement to work together to stop migrants crossing the Channel to England in small boats – a source of huge bilateral tension.

According to the the French interior ministry this Monday, the deal – signed in Paris by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and British counterpart Suella Braverman – will see Britain pay France just over €72 million in 2022-2023 so that French authorities can increase by 40 percent the numbers of its security forces patrolling France's northern beaches. This will mean an additional 100 people, the French interior ministry said.

"There are no quick fixes, but this new arrangement will mean we can significantly increase the number of French gendarmes patrolling the beaches in northern France," Braverman said in a statement after signing the accord.

"The arrangement means, for the first time, specialist UK officers will also be embedded with their French counterparts," the British interior ministry said.

This comes as the provisional total for this year stands at 40,885, most of them Albanians, Iranians and Afghans. The figure for last year was 28,561, the Ministry of Defence said.

On Saturday, some 972 people were detected making the perilous crossing in 22 boats, it said.

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