Europe

UK and France sign deal to curb migrants crossing the English Channel

The UK and France have reached a new deal to stem the flow of migrants across the Channel.

More than 8,000 people have reached the UK so far this year, after making the dangerous crossing on small boats, latest figures show.

Interior ministers Priti Patel and Gerald Darmanin have signed an agreement in which they “reaffirmed their commitment to make this route unviable”.

UK interior minister Ms Patel announced that the number of officers patrolling French beaches would double, and new equipment including drones and radar would be employed.

“Thanks to more police patrols on French beaches and enhanced intelligence sharing between our security and law enforcement agencies, we are already seeing fewer migrants leaving French beaches,” she said.

However, the UK Home Office did not say how many more officers would be deployed.

Patel told UK media that French authorities had stopped 5,000 migrants from travelling to the UK so far this year. She said over the last ten years, the UK had given France 150 million pounds to tackle immigration.

At Saturday’s meeting, the ministers also agreed on steps to better support migrants arriving in France to find appropriate accommodation “in order to take them out of the hands of criminal gangs”.

They agreed on measures to increase border security at ports in northern and western France to target smugglers and avoid migrant crossings threatening freight traffic.

Britain is also planning to introduce new asylum system legislation next year.

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