Channel Migrants: France says UK failed to pay £ 54 million it promised to discuss crossings

The UK was urged to keep its word by a French minister who claimed none of the £ 54 million it had pledged to France to help deal with crossing transfers had been paid.

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin said “not a single euro has been paid”, following his visit to Dunkirk on Saturday.

Earlier this year, the Government promised to send millions of pounds to support France’s efforts to stop the crossing. However, Home Secretary Priti Patel recently threatened to withhold funding unless more people stopped reaching out to the UK.

READ MORE: The UK Home Office has spent £ 6000 on Domino’s pizza to feed incoming migrants

The call came as a charity observing migrants arriving in small boats across the English Channel said the consequences of using controversial pushback tactics could be “horrible”.

Kim Bryan from Channel Rescue said over the last two weeks that his group has seen, from the Dover ravines, Border Force officers conducting a pushback using jet-skis.

The UK was told to keep its word by a French minister who said London had not yet paid any of the £ 54 million it had pledged to Paris to deal with transition crossings (Stefan Rousseau / PA)

“What they seem to be doing is pushing the boat out of the ulin and out of the bow, and I think the idea is they’re going to push them back into French waters,” Ms Bryan told BBC Breakfast on Sunday.

“These boats are incredibly soft. Just washing away from the jet-skis that surround them at first can cause them to run.

“What we’re going to see, then, if this starts to happen, is tragedy. The consequences will be horrible. I think it’s completely unsafe, completely impractical for Priti Patel to suggest that we make these Channel pushback. ”

Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft, last month said only a “small proportion” of boats could be legally returned to France using these tactics.

Migrant Channel crossing incidentsA group of people thought to be migrants were brought to Dover on Friday (Gareth Fuller / PA)

Mr Rycroft also did not tell the Kingdom House Interior Committee when, or if, the policy – which began with a bid to discuss the number of crossings in the UK – would be implemented.

READ MORE: ‘France is a safe country’, Patel told the party on suppressing asylum seekers

More than 17,000 people succeeded in making the perilous voyage to Dover Strait aboard small boats in 2021, according to data compiled by PA news agency

“So far, not a single euro has been paid,” Mr. Darmanin told the Associated Press on Saturday.

“We are asking the British to fulfill their financing promises because we hold the border for them.”

Aggregate crossings of English Channel migrants into the UK (PA)

He also called on Britain to take steps to reduce its “attractiveness” for migrants without residence papers, without further elaboration.

“We’re talking about people. There are children, babies taking these boats, who are risking their lives. There are people dying on the Channel. I don’t take them hostage in political debates,” he said.

Meanwhile in Dover on Saturday, dozens of people were seen being brought to shore by the Border Force after the dangerous crossing.

A woman was seen carrying a small child ahead of her as the pair were guided by a gangway by a border officer.

Migrant Channel crossing incidentsChildren are among migrants brought to Dover aboard a Border Force vessel (Gareth Fuller / PA)

This comes after a large number of people are thought to succeed in reaching the UK on Friday.

The Home Office has not yet provided numbers to those coming for Friday or Saturday.

A Home Office spokesman said: “This year recorded the number of people who have put their lives in the hands of ruthless smugglers and threatened at dangerous channel crossings from beaches in France.

“Joint cooperation with France has led to nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions and prevented more than 13,500 crossings. But with hundreds still threatening their lives and crossing, all sides must do more pa. ”

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