EU Frontex to deploy surveillance plane to monitor activities of migrants on the shores of the English Channel


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Amid the influx of migrants along the shores of the English Channel, the European Union’s border agency Frontex decided to send a surveillance plane to monitor the usual route after the death of 27 applicants asylum last Wednesday when their inflatable waded through icy waters en route to Britain. The decision was accepted by EU migrant officials at an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais, according to the Associated Press. Leaders at the meeting also pledged to “work together” against migrant smuggling networks and the inflatable boat trade frequently used by those fleeing Afghanistan.

The planes will begin surveillance from December 1 and will be operated by Frontex. This will help France, Belgium and the Netherlands to monitor the shores of the English Channel and identify the smuggling network.s, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Sunday, as AP reported. Participants at the meeting included ministers from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, who called for UK cooperation, stressing that the issue was “complicated” by Britain’s departure from the Union earlier this year. .

“This meeting was not anti-British. It was pro-European. We want to work with our British friends and allies,” Darmanin said, quoted by AP.

Sunday’s meeting remained focused on smuggling rings and what to do to prevent tragedies like Wednesday from occurring. According to the Associated Press, the ensuing blame game over the incident also resulted in the notable absence of British officials from the rally at Calais town hall on Sunday. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has expressed frustration at not being invited, calling her “unhappy”.

“Taking back” the migrants: British Prime Minister

It is relevant to mention that Wednesday’s incident, described as “the greatest tragedy” by French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin, sparked a new feud between France and the UK, accusing each other of be responsible for the migrant crisis. Previously, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had urged France to agree to “take back” people in an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron posted on Twitter. Johnson described five steps to “go further and faster” to end the migrant crisis. However, the letter was lambasted by Macron, calling it a violation of protocol, which led France to suppress a scheduled meeting between Macron and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

At least 25,000 migrants have crossed the Channel into the UK so far this year, including more than 1,000 in a single day in November. According to UK government data, cited by the BBC, asylum claims reached the highest level since 2004. Asylum claims rose 18% in 2020, even with travel restrictions in the event of a pandemic were imposed.

(With AP entries, Image: AP)

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