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Dozens of dead in the English Channel: "This tragedy is the result of Boris Johnson's mistakes"

2021-11-25T11:46:43.854Z

At least 27 people have died trying to cross the English Channel by rubber dinghy. It is the worst accident in the strait so far. Now France and Great Britain blame each other.



Read the video transcript here

It is the worst incident to date with refugees in the English Channel: On Saturday, a boat with 33 migrants capsized on the way from France to Great Britain, at least 27 of them did not survive.

Many more were rescued or made it to the UK on the same day.

The 30 kilometer wide strait is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world - and it is used by many refugees.

Since the beginning of the year, 25,700 people have crossed the English Channel illegally.

According to local authorities, there had been 14 deaths as of Wednesday.

And: According to a statement by the French side, 1552 smugglers have been arrested on the French coast since the beginning of the year and 44 smuggling networks have been broken up.

Gerald Darmanin, Interior Minister France:


“The greatest responsibility for this hideous situation lies with the smugglers.

These are criminals who are trafficking in human beings for a few thousand euros, bringing them from Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Asia to Belgium, the Netherlands or France and then mainly across the English Channel to Great Britain.

We have to fight these people smugglers. "

According to Darmanin, four people smugglers who are said to be directly connected to the unsuccessful crossing have been arrested.

But who bears the political responsibility?

The illegal crossings are a constant issue in the relationship between France and Great Britain, especially in relation to the funding of border guards.

The most recent disaster was also the reason for mutual accusations

Gerald Darmanin, France Interior Minister:


“The answer should also come from Great Britain.

It was only three days ago that I had an exchange with the British Home Secretary, Priti Pratel.

We sometimes have very lively discussions about the resources that Britain is making available to France.

They are still at a minimum - compared to what we are investing - in order to mobilize more police officers, more cameras and more resources in general. "

Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister:


“I say to our partners on the other side of the channel: now we must all do more, work together and do everything we can to break these gangs.

We're literally letting them get away with murder. "

Mayoress of Calais, Natacha Bouchart:


»This tragedy is one too many.

It is the consequence of the continuing misconduct of this immigration policy, the mistake of Boris Johnson.

All of this leaves nothing to our region but to use our resources, because he does not have the courage to take on more responsibility himself and to decide what kind of immigration he actually wants in his country. "

As long as the political dispute is not resolved, the number of refugees embarking on the dangerous journey is likely to remain high.

In northern France, many people continue to hold out and wait for a crossing, the conditions in the camp are dire.

According to local fishermen, a particularly large number of migrants started on Wednesday, the day of the accident, because the conditions on the English Channel were calm.

But the strait is not only heavily traveled, there are also strong currents and the water is freezing cold.

According to the French interior minister, the rubber dinghy that capsized eventually lost air.

The French President Emmanuel Macron has now called for an emergency meeting of the ministers who are responsible for migration issues in the EU countries.

He also called for an immediate reinforcement of the EU border protection agency Frontex.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-11-25

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