European Union/migration issues
Paris, August 18, 2015
Since the migration crisis in the Mediterranean began a year ago, M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, has increased the number of initiatives with France’s partners to ensure that a European solution is found which is commensurate with the challenge we have been set.
These initiatives have produced results.
For example, picking up on a number of the French proposals made on 30 August 2014, the European Union decided in the spring of 2015 to triple the resources of operations in the Mediterranean by Europe’s Frontex agency, particularly Operation Triton, which has already enabled thousands of lives to be saved in recent months.
Regarding the migrant situation in Calais, the Interior Minister reached an agreement with his British counterpart, Mrs Theresa May, on 20 September 2014, including an initial financial commitment by the United Kingdom for €15 million over three years, in particular enabling the port of Calais to be made secure. The agreement was strengthened by a joint declaration on 2 August 2015, in which the UK pledged to provide the fund with an additional €10 million to increase security along the Channel Tunnel tracks. In the past month, attempts by migrants to enter the tunnel have declined sharply.
Regarding the implementation of a genuine European asylum policy to tackle the worrying flow of refugees crossing the Mediterranean, Bernard Cazeneuve and his German counterpart, Mr Thomas de Maizière, have continually adopted a common position, upholding a better sharing of asylum seekers among all the European Union countries, as well as the simultaneous opening, under the aegis of the EU, of “hot spots” – waiting zones situated in countries of first entry – enabling the migrants to be registered on the Eurodac database and also allowing the necessary distinction to be made between refugees needing protection and illegal economic immigrants. This common position met with the agreement of most of the member states and made an initial European agreement possible in July.
It is now necessary to go further and deepen these partnerships even more.
Bernard Cazeneuve will therefore visit Calais on Thursday 20 August in the company of his British counterpart, Theresa May. Together they will visit the Eurotunnel site and meet voluntary organizations helping migrants. They will sign a new Franco-British agreement strengthening, on the one hand, their shared commitment to the site’s security and the resolute joint battle against criminal people-smuggling, human trafficking and illegal immigration rings and, on the other, the humanitarian operation developed on site with voluntary organization and local elected representatives, particularly to protect the most vulnerable.
In the evening of Thursday 20 August, Bernard Cazeneuve will also visit Berlin for a meeting with his German counterpart, Thomas de Maizière, about migration policy in Europe, which will be followed by a joint statement./.