Shipwreck off Calais: a new stone in the Franco-British garden

Survivors of a shipwreck in the English Channel welcomed in Dover, on the British coast, on November 25, 2021. © REUTERS / Henry Nicholls

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In the aftermath of the shipwreck of 27 migrants in the Channel, several crisis meetings were organized in Paris and London.

In France, a fifth person suspected of being a smuggler has been arrested.

Visiting Croatia, President Macron assures us that France will not let the Channel become a cemetery.


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At the heart of the discussions between Emmanuel Macron and Andrej Plenkovic, the Croatian Prime Minister, this Thursday morning: Croatia's request to quickly join the Schengen area of ​​free movement.

But it is another border of Europe that is invited in this trip by the French president that between France and the United Kingdom, the Channel, reports our special envoy to Zagreb,

Anthony Lattier


Hours after the tragedy, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused France of "

not doing enough

" to prevent the departure of migrants as the British promised to pay more than 60 million euros to the French to help them control their border ... Words that arouse the annoyance of the French president: we must treat this subject with seriousness and dignity and not use the situation for political ends, it is said in the entourage of Emmanuel Macron.

To read also

: Channel: the deadliest sinking of a migrant boat since the start of the crossings 

The French Minister of the Interior also defends himself: 1,500 smugglers have been arrested since the beginning of the year, assures Gérald Darmanin. New outbreak of Franco-British fever therefore in this issue in a context where the number of migrant crossings through the Channel is increasing. According to the British over 25,000 people have arrived in the UK this year. The British authorities said this Thursday to offer France joint police patrols on the French coast along the Channel. " 

We are willing to offer support on the ground, we are willing to offer resources, we are willing to offer, literally, people to go there and assist the French authorities.

 British Immigration Secretary Kevin Foster told the BBC.


It is not in anyone's best interest for this to continue



In France, the 2003 Touquet accords which organized border controls are the target of criticism from NGOs and the opposition.

The Touquet accords: two decades of France-United Kingdom tension

On February 4, 2003, former President Jacques Chirac signed the Touquet accords with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. After the closure of the Sangatte accommodation center, they allow British police officers to control applicants for immigration to the English coast on French soil. France has a duty to welcome immigrants turned back at the border. This causes the British border to slide into French ports. In April 2009, bulldozers destroyed the scattered slums in the region of Calais and they soon began to rebuild themselves: it was the appearance of the Calais jungle. To complete this agreement, other treaties were signed over the years. In 2014, 15 million euros were promised by the British to help France. Already in the air,the idea of ​​renegotiating the Touquet agreements has gained political weight in France with Brexit. On January 18, 2018, Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May sign the Sandhurst agreements. London then promises an additional envelope of 50.5 million euros to help with checks on migrants in Calais. The day after the shipwreck of 27 migrants in the Channel, on November 24, 2021, the number two of LFI, Adrien Quatennens, called on BFM TV and RMC to "on November 24, 2021, the number two of LFI, Adrien Quatennens, called on BFM TV and RMC to "on November 24, 2021, the number two of LFI, Adrien Quatennens, called on BFM TV and RMC to " 

renegotiating the Touquet agreements


provide for France to be the United Kingdom's gatekeeper


An open investigation

The Specialized Interregional Jurisdiction (Jirs) of Lille was seized of the investigation for “assistance with irregular entry and stay in an organized group”, “homicide and involuntary injuries” and “criminal association”.

The border police, the maritime gendarmerie and the Central Office for the Suppression of Irregular Immigration and the Employment of Untitled Foreigners (Ocriest) are seized, according to the police source cited by Agence France Presse.

A fifth person was arrested on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, suspected of being a smuggler in connection with the sinking of migrants which left 27 dead in the Channel, said Thursday morning Gerald Darmanin. Four suspected smugglers had already been arrested late Wednesday afternoon, also suspected of having a link with the tragedy, said the Minister of the Interior traveling to Calais. Asked about RTL, the minister specified that the fifth smuggler arrested that night had “a German license plate” and had “bought zodiacs in Germany”.

Among the victims are 17 men, seven women and three young people, as well as two survivors, according to the prosecutor of Lille (north).

There would be a teenager and 3 children among the victims, said a police source.

The two survivors, an Iraqi and a Somali, were in "severe hypothermia yesterday" but are "a little better today", continued the minister, specifying that they would be quickly heard.


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