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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Britain should stop giving us lessons over migrant crossings, says France

However, in an unusually blunt criticism of the UK, Mr Darmanin implied it was the fault of the British government that so many migrants wanted to cross the Channel.

He accused British activists based in northern France around Calais and Dunkirk of impeding the work of the security forces.

“I will remind my British counterpart that the NGOs that prevent the police and the gendarmerie from working are largely British NGOs with British citizens who are on French soil,” he said.

And he added: “The smugglers, who organise networks and exploit women and children, are very often based in Britain.”

He also argued that migrants were encouraged to leave for Britain because its labour market relied in part on “irregular workers employed at low cost”.

“If the British changed their legislation very strongly – and they did, but not enough – people would no longer be in Calais or Dunkirk” waiting for a chance to cross the Channel, he said.

“We are the victims of British politics. We must not get this mixed up,” he said. He added: “We are neither [Britain’s] employees nor their auxiliaries.”

The total of 1,185 migrants who crossed the Channel on Thursday smashed the previous daily high of 853 as smugglers exploited the cold but calm weather. Hundreds more are expected early this week due to calmer seas.

Britain has described the figures as “unacceptable.” On Friday, three people who tried to cross in a canoe were reported missing.

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