France and UK agree steps to combat illegal migration

France/UK/migration – Joint declaration by M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, and Mrs Theresa May, Home Secretary of the United Kingdom¹

Paris, 20 September 2014

The UK and France share concerns as to the number of illegal migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa, the volume of illegal migrants arriving along the southern Mediterranean border of the European Union and the local situation in the Calais region and around the port since spring 2014. This includes the human distress and the risk of human trafficking that underpins this situation and the significant public policy, economic, health and social pressure consequences generated by illegal migration into the town. Recognising their longstanding effective bilateral cooperation on cross-border security issues and the need for effective organizational structures and legal tools on both sides, the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom and the Interior Minister of France reaffirm their willingness to work together in the fight against the smuggling and trafficking of migrants, as well as to combat organized criminals seeking to exploit illegal migration. They are also intent on measures which will ensure the safety of migrants, without increasing the attractiveness of Calais as a destination for illegal migrants. The two ministers unreservedly condemn the violence in both the town and the port.

The two ministers agree on the establishment of a comprehensive action plan to:

- Reduce the number of irregular migrants, through joint or parallel information campaigns;

- Respond to health emergencies and protect vulnerable people, with a focus on victims of human trafficking;

- Strengthen port security to deter illegal crossings, preserve and promote economic activity in the region and address public order issues arising from the number of illegal migrants in Calais;

- Increase their operational cooperation to fight against the smuggling of migrants;

- Stem the flow of illegal migration into Europe, together with the EU and with source and transit countries, building on the joint letter to the European Commission from the French Interior Minister, the Home Secretary and the interior ministers of Germany, Poland and Spain; and

- Ensure that all measures taken will deter illegal migrants from congregating in and around Calais.

1. Firstly, the two ministers agree on the creation of a joint intervention fund, including a British contribution of €5 million funding (£4m) per year for three years to:

- Strengthen security, both around the port and in the port areas, ensuring greater protection against migrant incursions and building on the sustained UK support and investment in improving infrastructure and security in Calais. This will include the building of robust fences along the ring road access to the public area of the port in accordance with the investment programme identified by the port management. This will also include the strengthening of security in the parking area in the east of the port, for which investment and annual security costs will be evaluated. Pending the installation of these permanent security installations, temporary solutions should be implemented as soon as possible, subject to the agreement of port and road authorities, to offer greater immediate security to the public and to hauliers using the port.

- Ensure effective measures are taken to protect vulnerable persons such as the victims of human trafficking. This will include, for example, ensuring such victims receive appropriate support and assistance.

2. The two ministers agree that their officials will work together to improve the quality of border controls to deliver an overall border control conducive to the operation of a secure international border. This would be initiated by an assessment of current methods and the possible upgrade to newer technologies specifically to address the current risk to life from the smuggling of clandestines in tankers and refrigerated lorries. Meanwhile, improvements will be made to the physical layout of the border controls in Calais to ensure a smoother flow of traffic and better compliance with the relevant Schengen rules. These measures should be worked out before the end of the year. This should be supported by further efforts from all EU member states to fulfil their obligations under EU law.

3. At the same time, efforts will be made to strengthen operational cooperation by establishing permanent joint mechanisms to deliver promptly the comprehensive action plan and enhance cooperation between British and French law enforcement agencies at the border. This will include helping to identify measures to ensure migrants do not breach the laws of either country or threaten the safety of Calais residents or those using the port. It will also support improved joint returns initiatives and further comprehensive action against those trying to evade immigration control.

4. In order to deter clandestine attempts to enter Britain, the two countries agree on the establishment of joint information campaigns to migrants. This will include the development and delivery of messages by British and French officials, together with relevant NGOs where possible, on the reality of illegal migration and its consequences in the United Kingdom. These messages may be issued along with information on asylum in France or assisted voluntary return. Information campaigns will begin in October.

5. The two ministers agree on increased efforts in dismantling criminal networks. This cooperation will take place through increased sharing of operational information by strengthening contacts between different actors – DCPAF [French border police], National Crime Agency, Border Force – as well as a British participation in joint actions and EMPACT ENDTIC conducted with other European countries. As a first step the NCA will second a full-time officer to OCRIEST [French body combating illegal immigration] in Paris and the DCPAF will send each month two officers to work with the Joint Border Intelligence Unit in Folkestone. These measures will be effective immediately and the ministers will set clear and ambitious targets to ensure the full impact in the fight against organized immigration crime.

6. Finally, the two ministers emphasize the need for resolving the evident migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. The ministers undertake to continue their actions bilaterally and with partners in the European Union, based in particular on action in countries of transit and of origin. This would involve cooperation between the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European Commission and EU interior ministers to drive forward delivery of the Task Force Mediterranean, including an increased use of Regional Protection and Development Programmes./.

¹Source of English text: UK Home Office.

Published on 29/09/2014

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