Sarkozy demands United Kingdom take Calais migrants


Steve Parsons  PA WireThe'Jungle camp near Calais

But Ms Rudd, who succeeded Theresa May in July, will tell the President that Britain will not agree to renegotiating the border agreement between the two countries.

It follows controversy over a proposal to allow migrants to lodge United Kingdom asylum claims on French soil – a plan dismissed by a Home Office source as a “complete non-starter”.

Mr Sarkozy, who hopes to make a comeback in the French presidential election next year, said the controversial “Jungle” migrant camp should be shut down and moved to Britain.

Xavier Bertrand said the 9,000 migrants at the “Jungle” in Calais should be allowed to start their asylum process in France.

There have been calls from senior French politicians to revisit the so-called Le Touquet agreement, which allows the establishment of British border controls on the French side of the channel.

The controls mean British officials check passports in Calais while their French counterparts operate in Dover.

Other refugees and migrants from other countries have also joined the camps in northern France – the most famous of which is the Jungle near Calais.

The Calais region prefecture says that since March, 55 children have been able to join families in Britain the dream of most Calais migrants.

About 7,000 migrants are now present in Calais, about 5,000 of them without housing, according to the Home Office.

Under current rules, refugees must register in the first European country they arrive in and this country usually takes charge of their asylum claim. It would simply force the ferries and Tunnel to become border guards – meaning higher ticket prices and longer queues.

Today’s papers are hyping a meeting tomorrow between Amber Rudd and Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s interior Minister, but there is no suggestion that the French Government is seeking to resile from Le Touqet.

“The French government has repeatedly made it clear that removing the juxtaposed controls would not be in the interests of France”. The source added: “That’s the long-held, global norm, and we’re going to stick to it”.

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is standing again to be president, has called for a processing centre in England to deal with asylum requests from those in Calais, but a Downing Street spokesman played down the speculation.

“That is why Britain and France should go further – dismantle the Jungle, protect lorries from attacks and ensure there is a new Dover Patrol to keep the English Channel safe and secure”.

Although he does not have the power to change the agreement, two of the candidates believed to be most likely to win next year’s French presidential election support the treaty being either reformed or annulled.

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