PARIS — France and the U.K. are set to reach an agreement as early as Monday on the fight against illegal migration across the English Channel, according to the Telegraph.
The prospective agreement — under which the U.K. would pay France at least £60 million — “will see a significant increase in the 200 gendarmes and volunteer officers deployed on beaches in northern France,” the British news outlet reported on Saturday.
Illegal crossings from the Port of Calais via the English Channel have long been a point of friction between Paris and London — and were increasingly so under the Boris Johnson and the short-lived Liz Truss mandates.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her British counterpart James Cleverly met on Friday in the French capital to discuss a wide range of issues, including migration.
After the meeting, they welcomed in a joint statement “the progress made toward a major new agreement” on the issue and “stressed the urgency of tackling all forms of illegal migration, including makeshift boat crossings, and addressing their root causes.”
According to the Telegraph as well as French reports, the U.K. would be willing to pay France tens of millions of euros in additional funds for police reinforcement on French beaches, and British immigration agents would have access to “joint control centers” located in France. Paris also reportedly has pledged to prevent “a much higher” proportion of migrants from leaving French soil.
So far this year, about 40,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel — more than 2021 and 2020 combined. They mainly come from Albania, Afghanistan and Iran.