After a boat accident in the English Channel: tougher action against smugglers agreed

As of: 25.11.2021 11:28 a.m.

Great Britain and France want to crack down on smugglers after the refugee boat capsized in the English Channel. Other countries, including Germany, should also be involved and support the investigation.

After at least 27 people died in a boat carrying migrants in the English Channel, Britain wants to crack down on smugglers. Interior Secretary Kevin Foster said on the BBC that the government is determined to destroy the people smuggling business model. A common European approach is necessary for this.

After the accident, which according to the French Interior Ministry also killed pregnant women and children, five suspected smugglers were arrested. One of them came from Germany. “We are ready to provide support on the ground. We are ready to provide resources. We are ready to send staff and help the French authorities,” said Foster.

More cooperation between the countries

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously called for joint patrols on the French coast. “I understand the difficulties that all countries are facing, but we want to do more together now – and that is our offer,” said Johnson.

“Great Britain and France must work together,” said France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to the television station RTL. “We have to stop being the only ones fighting against people smugglers.” Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany should be more involved and better support the investigation. “The smuggler we arrested last night had German license plates,” said Darmanin. “He bought these rubber boats in Germany.”

The migrants often use unseaworthy boats and pay high prices to smugglers. Many want to go to Great Britain because they speak the language and already have friends or relatives there. The increase in the numbers is likely to have something to do with the fact that the crossing will soon be even more dangerous with the falling temperatures. “It cannot be stressed enough how criminal the smugglers who organize these crossings are,” said Darmanin.

Three times as many migrants as in 2020

Britain has repeatedly accused France of doing too little to prevent the crossings. This year around 26,000 migrants from France have already arrived on the English coast – three times as many as in the entire previous year.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Johnson discussed steps to prevent further such dramas on Wednesday evening. Both had agreed to intensify efforts to stop smugglers who put people’s lives at risk, the British side announced afterwards.

According to the Elysée Palace in Paris, Macron expressed the expectation that the British would be willing to cooperate and not instrumentalize the refugee drama for political purposes. “France will not allow the English Channel to become a cemetery,” Macron said earlier that evening.

Boat capsized in the English Channel: at least 27 refugees die

daily news 9:00 a.m., 25.11.2021

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