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European Union/migration issues/United Kingdom/Eurotunnel

Published on July 30, 2015
Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Interior
Paris, July 29, 2015

Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, had a meeting today at Hôtel Beauvau with M. Jacques Gounon, Chairman and CEO of Eurotunnel, to discuss the difficulties linked to the mass incursions into the Channel Tunnel site which are taking place.

Since the beginning of the year, Europe has been facing an exceptional migration crisis, with nearly 230,000 illegal entries to the EU due to the abandonment of the Libyan state and the conflicts tearing apart the Middle East and Africa. This exceptional migratory situation is having tragic human consequences, particularly in Calais, which is experiencing unprecedented migratory pressure, with 3,000 migrants trying to enter the United Kingdom, sometimes at risk to their lives. The many attempted incursions into the cross-Channel Fixed Link which are taking place every night are a direct consequence of this crisis.

In the face of this situation, the state has deployed exceptional resources in Calais which are helping, every day and night, to ensure the Channel Tunnel’s security and prevent incursions. To the 5.5 riot police units permanently stationed in Calais, the Interior Minister has today decided to temporarily add two units, bringing to nearly 500 the number of CRS and gendarmes mobiles [police and gendarmerie riot units] assigned to this operation. For its part, Eurotunnel has agreed to make efforts to improve the security of its site, particularly through significant investment.

Furthermore, the meeting in London yesterday between the Interior Minister and his British counterpart, Theresa May, made it possible to get the UK to contribute an additional €10 million, in the framework of Franco-British cooperation in and around Calais. This €10 million adds to the €15 million provided in the framework of last September’s joint declaration, €4.7 million of which has already been devoted to increasing the security of the Eurotunnel site.

The dialogue between the state services and Eurotunnel is continuous. The Interior Minister and the Chairman and CEO of Eurotunnel agree on the need to further increase the security of the site in a spirit of shared responsibility. A first meeting will be held tomorrow at the Interior Ministry to identify the necessary adjustments to the infrastructure and means of stepping up operational cooperation between the police and Eurotunnel security staff./.

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