President Emmanuel Macron revealed the port will no longer be “a secret gateway to England” for illegal migrants.
During a speech in Calais, he said police and other agencies will finally stop them boarding trains, lorries and ferries heading for the UK. But it is expected to come at a price to the British.
The issues will be thrashed out by President Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May during a UK meeting tomorrow.
Mr Macron’s interior minister Gerard Collomb has confirmed a reform of the Le Touquet agreement, which sets Anglo-French policy over Channel port migrants, would include Britain sharing more costs and taking in a greater number of migrants.
“I want to reach an additional protocol to these agreements and to take concrete measures to look after a certain number of costs by the British,” he said.
Migrants try to keep warm at their makeshift camp in the port town yesterday
Calais must not be a secret gateway to England
Mr Collomb, who was in Calais yesterday, also said the British should “take concrete measures” to take on “a larger number of people, as regard to the reception of refugees and unaccompanied minors”.
The French government’s stance follows more than two decades during which the town has acted as a magnet to refugees and economic migrants from all over the world bound for Britain.
Mr Macron, who was speaking to police officers at their HQ in Calais, said: “Everything is done so that illegal passage to the United Kingdom is not possible. Calais must not be a secret gateway to England.
“The fundamental challenge is to ensure the security of the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel.”
Sources say Mr Macron, who will meet Mrs May at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, Berks, is secretly already claiming victory in his bid to force Britain to take in more migrants and hand over extra money for increased Calais border controls.
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Mr Macron said there would be no repeat of the Jungle – the refugee camp that housed some 8,000 men, women and children before being razed at the end of 2016.
“Whatever happens, we will not allow a new Jungle in Calais,” said Mr Macron.
“Britain is their final destination… in a large majority of cases they don’t want to stay in France.”
His speech came as French government figures showed that migrants made 115,000 attempts to cross the Channel from Calais last year despite the demolition of the Jungle camp.
Some 800 people are still sleeping rough in and around Calais as they try to get to Britain.
British taxpayers have paid £125million towards border security at Calais in the past three years.
British taxpayers have paid £125million towards border security at Calais in the past three years
Last night, critics accused France of taking far too long to act before then trying to “pass the buck”.
Alp Mehmet, vice chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “We have already given millions towards improving security around Calais – it is time France did much more to stop the camps being established.
“France is a safe country. The onus for dealing with asylum seekers who choose to make their way to encampments such as Calais is surely with the French. Threats to abandon the Le Touquet treaty make no sense when it would harm French interests as much as it would the UK’s.”
Ukip’s Mike Hookem MEP – who spent five weeks in the Jungle camp – said: “Macron’s comments are nothing more than the French once again trying to pass the buck for its migration problems to the UK.
“International law states that refugees should register for asylum in the first safe country they arrive in.
Macron revealed the port will no longer be ‘a secret gateway to England’ for illegal migrants
“However, due to the EU’s Schengen ‘free movement rules’ – which the French openly support – here we are with demands for more taxpayers’ money to be pumped into French security and demands for more leniency on the numbers of economic migrants the UK accepts.”
He added: “Mrs May should point out to Macron that the more scope you give for the system to be abused, the more people will come, and the more money people traffickers will make.
“Mrs May needs to show some steel and also point out to Macron that one of the reasons the people of the UK voted in favour of Brexit was to limit economic migration.
“In my experience of the situation in Calais, very few of those seeking to make their way to the UK would qualify for asylum.”
Mike Hookem slammed Mr Macron’s comments
He added: “So why should the UK now have to pay yet more on top of the millions already handed over to the French to improve security and relax our own already lax rules on the number of migrants we accept?”
Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Mr Macron, Mrs May’s office last night remained defiant.
Her spokesman said: “We have provided help already in the form of additional security and we have put in place structures in order to find minors in Calais homes here.”
The Home Office said cooperation with France over Calais was “vital”.
A spokesman added: “We want to do all we can to make the border between the UK and France as secure as possible.”
Source : EXPRESS