“It is Europe in what it carries deepest – humanism, respect for the dignity of each person – who is in mourning ”, affirmed, Wednesday, November 24, Emmanuel Macron after the death of at least 31 migrants in the Channel. While promising that “France will not let the English Channel become a cemetery”, the President of the Republic demanded “An emergency meeting of European ministers concerned by the migration challenge” ensuring that “Everything will be done to find and condemn those responsible” of this drama.
The head of state also requested the “Immediate reinforcement of the resources of the Frontex agency at the external borders” of the European Union (EU), according to a press release from the Elysee.
“We are all moved by this tragedy which strikes everyone in their privacy and in their values”, specified Emmanuel Macron, expressing his « compassion » and the “Unconditional support from France” to the families of the victims.
“Shocked, revolted and deeply saddened”, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, assured to want ” Do more “ with France to discourage illegal Channel crossings. “We had difficulty persuading some of our partners, in particular the French, to act up to the situation”, he declared on the Sky News channel after a crisis meeting, pointing to the Franco-British disagreements.
“Accelerate the dismantling of criminal networks”
Emmanuel Macron questioned the “Networks of smugglers who, by exploiting misery and distress, endanger human lives and ultimately decimate families”. “France is acting, in conjunction with Great Britain, to dismantle the networks of smugglers” and “Since the start of the year, thanks to the mobilization of 600 police and gendarmes, 1,552 smugglers have been arrested on the northern coast and 44 smugglers networks dismantled”, said the president, adding that “7,800 migrants were saved”.
“Despite this action, 47,000 crossing attempts have taken place since 1is January “, according to him. “If we do not step up our efforts today, other tragedies will happen again”, he warned. For that, “We must speed up the dismantling of criminal networks linked to Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany”. “We owe it to the victims, to the orphans, to the families. We owe it to ourselves ”, he concluded.
For Natalie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover, a city in the south-east of England facing migrant landings, this tragedy shows that “Saving lives at sea starts first by stopping boats going into the water”.
Interministerial meeting Thursday in Paris
French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who regretted a “Tragedy”, will hold an interministerial meeting on this file on Thursday at 8:30 am with the interior ministers, Gérald Darmanin, justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, armies, Florence Parly, sea, Annick Girardin, transport, Jean -Baptist Djebbari, foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the secretary of state for European affairs, Clément Beaune, according to his services.
Four smugglers suspected of being “Directly linked” with the sinking were arrested, said Gerald Darmanin. “I want to say here that the people primarily responsible for this despicable situation are the smugglers”, added the minister in Calais. He also called for a “Very tough coordinated international response” in front of this drama “Which affects us all”.
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Shipwreck of migrants: “France will not let the Channel become a cemetery”, assures Emmanuel Macron