UK-France agreement on migration met with scrutiny by those on the ground

After France and the UK came to an agreement to tighten up border controls and patrolling along the English Channel, the deal has been met with some criticism.

Monday’s accord means Britain will now have to pay France €72 million euros – an extra ten million euros from a previous deal – in order to increase the number of police and gendarmes on French beaches from 800 to 900.

The announcement was made after a meeting between the UK's home secretary Suella Braverman and France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin.

But for those on the ground in northern France working with migrants, the news doesn’t come with a concrete solution. For Pierre Roques, the Coordinator of the Auberge des Migrants association, more policing won’t reduce migrant crossings.

If anything, more policing makes the prospect of travelling by illegal means all the more tempting.

“So, we are increasing the police force by 40%. What will happen? All this reinforces the networks of crossing (human trafficking), it makes the networks of crossing indispensable,” Roques says.

“This has been observed for years in an empirical way: the more police officers you put on the beaches, the more you encourage the illegal networks. It's a snake that bites its own tail."

Room for further exploitation

There are fears that smugglers will find alternative means of trafficking migrants across the channel.

Officials in Calais remark that the coastline between the Belgian border to the Baie de Somme in France is 150 kilometres long and open to exploitation.

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There is also the issue with the inflatable boats used by migrants to cross the Channel hail from Germany. Investigators say that boats and lifejackets from Germany are being used by traffickers smuggling migrants into Britain via Belgium and France.

"It is said that many of the small boats that are brought to the coast come from Germany. Perhaps the German, Belgian and Dutch intelligence services should also be involved, in fact the whole of Europe,” says Philippe Mignonet, the deputy mayor of Calais.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, more than 200 people have died or gone missing at sea or on land since 2014, trying to reach England from France.

Monday’s announcement comes as the number of migrants crossing the Channel this year passed the 40,000 mark on Sunday, a record, according to the British government.

Watch Euronews' report in the player above.