French police on Tuesday cleared a large migrant camp that housed around a thousand people hoping to reach Britain, amid tensions between London and Paris over the Channel crossing.
Last Thursday, a record number of migrants crossed the Channel in small boats – 1,185 according to British figures – which the British government called “unacceptable”.
French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin spoke to his British counterpart Priti Patel on Monday, but only after giving a straightforward interview in which he said Britain should “stop using us as a punch- ball in its domestic policy “.
On Tuesday morning, Darmanin announced that “on his orders” the police had cleared a camp at Grande-Synthe, near the port of Dunkirk, which is one of the main points of departure for Britain.
“Thank you to the police who were in action as well as to our security personnel in the north who found shelters,” Darmanin added.
French police regularly clean the camps around Calais and Dunkirk, offering migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum in France and settle in a refuge, which many refuse because they prefer to continue their journey to the Great. Brittany.
Yesterday evening, I spoke with my French counterpart @GDarmanin to discuss the problem of small boats crossing the Channel.
We discussed a series of additional steps to address the issue and reiterated the importance of working together to make this deadly road unsustainable.
– Priti Patel (@pritipatel) November 16, 2021 A Darmanin employee denied to AFP that the operation was linked to the conversation with Patel, saying the authorization was “scheduled for that date” before the phone call.
Relations between France and Britain are at their lowest in decades due to a host of disagreements over issues ranging from migrants to fishing in the English Channel, as well as a submarine contract with the Australia.