Calais chief urges revamp of U.K.-France migrant deal

Aug 29, 2016, 5:55 AM EDT
The "jungle" is the refugee camp at Calais
(Source: Global Justice Now/flickr)

French politician Xavier Bertrand said that the migrant border deal between the U.K. and France needs to be revamped so as to allow asylum seekers in Calais to lodge their claims at a “hotspot” in France. Under the existing bilateral agreement, called the Treaty of Le Touquet, U.K. officials check migrants’ passports in Calais, and their French counterparts do the same in Dover.

The camp in Calais, known as the Jungle, houses about 9,000 migrants, who frequently clash with the officials and try to sneak into Britain by hiding inside vehicles entering the port and the Channel Tunnel, reports the BBC. Bertrand, who is the president of the region, says that the amendments proposed by him would address these issues, thus easing France’s refugee crisis.

According to the E.U. rules, migrants should claim asylum in the first safe country they arrive. However, those flocking to France, refuse to stay in the country and attempt to cross to Britain in search of better opportunities.

Bertrand’s comments came after former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that the treaty should either be amended or annulled, writes The Telegraph. France’s conservative politicians have been railing against the reciprocal deal, which they say, is ruining local economy and promoting violence by people-smugglers.