CALAIS, France: France and Britain vowed Sunday that ending a crisis which has seen thousands of attempts by migrants to reach England from Calais in recent weeks is a “top priority.”
The joint statement came as a French opposition lawmaker accused British Prime Minister David Cameron of failing to grasp “the severity of the problem,” and said migrants should not be stopped from going to England unless stronger measures were taken.
Hundreds of migrants have tried to make it into the undersea tunnel in recent weeks in the hopes of finding a way onto a train or lorry headed for Britain. At least 10 migrants have died attempting the dangerous journey since June.
Earlier this week, the British government pledged 10 million euros ($11 million) to improve fencing around the Eurotunnel rail terminal in Coquelles, outside Calais.
And Cameron, who has warned that the crisis could last all summer, promised “more fencing, more resources, more sniffer dog teams” to aid French police in their nightly cat-and-mouse game with the migrants.
The new measures sent “a clear message”, according to French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve and his British counterpart Theresa May in a statement published in France’s Journal Du Dimanche and in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.
“Our border is secure, and there is no easy way into the UK,” they wrote.
They said the world was facing “a global migration crisis” that required a European and international response, and warned that the burden of tackling the problem should not lie with Britain and France alone.
“Many of those in Calais and attempting to cross the Channel have made their way there through Italy, Greece or other countries,” the pair wrote.