This blog was prepared about a week ago and was scheduled for publication today. It is a coincidence that the French government minister, Emmanuel Macron, sparked a row today by suggesting his country could end UK border controls in Calais if Britain leaves the EU.
I have about 10 topics ready for publication and a further 20/30 in the pipeline. I am not jumping on the bandwagon, it is just a coincidence. The next blog will be about the effect leaving the EU might have on Brits living in France and the one after that will be on science funding and research. I will get on to the thorny question of ‘foreigners coming into the UK’ in a week or two. so here is what I wrote a week ago…..
How many countries have their border posts in their neighbours, country? Sounds odd to me but that is the situation at Calais. This situation was agreed between France and Britain in 2004. How long will it last? if we leave Europe.
Since 2004, an agreement on ‘juxtaposed controls’ has enabled United Kingdom immigration officers to carry out immigration checks at certain locations in France. Now the UK Border Agency work alongside French police to create a single control point in France, using advanced technology to increase the number of vehicle checks. If they suspect untoward activity, our officers then search the vehicle (using body detection dogs and other equipment) to locate and remove any illegal migrants.
Without these border checks on the French side of the channel anyone could purchase a ticket as a foot passenger and arrive in Dover and it would then be our problem.
Let’s be clear that this is an agreement between France and Great Britain. It is not an EU initiative. However many French politicians are concerned about the situation in Calais and if we choose to leave the EU then their cooperation with the UK could become less positive.
James Brokenshire MP who is the Minister for Security and Immigration recently cited ‘the newly elected president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region, Xavier Bertrand, and the mayor of Calais as evidence that a growing number of French political figures were demanding the end of the juxtaposed controls that enable British border officers to operate in Calais and French border guards in Dover’
Xavier Bertrand was a minister in the previous French government under Nicholas Sarkosy. Sarkosy who will probably be a candidate for the Republicans (formerly UPM Union for a Popular Movement) in the forthcoming Presidential elections to be held May 2017 has said he would like to see a restoration of all border checks in France.
Marine Le Pen for the Front National ( the equivalent of our UKIP only with jack boots on) said on a visit to Calais last year “We need to regain control of our borders and remove all possibility of allowing illegal immigrants to stay. We must wage war on this phenomenon,”
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