European migration officials meet after deaths in Channel

  • Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, center, arrives for a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat.

    Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, center, arrives for a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat. Associated Press

  • Dutch Interior Minister Ankie Broekers-Knol, left, poses with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin, center, prior to a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat.

    Dutch Interior Minister Ankie Broekers-Knol, left, poses with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin, center, prior to a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat. Associated Press

  • Belgium Interior minister Annelies Verlinden, left, poses with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin, center, prior to a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat.

    Belgium Interior minister Annelies Verlinden, left, poses with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin, center, prior to a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat. Associated Press

  • Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, center right, arrives for a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat.

    Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, center right, arrives for a meeting with European migration officials, in Calais, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Top European migration officials are holding an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat. Associated Press

  • Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights stand next to a banner reading "309 dead on the France UK border since 1999", during a gathering outside the port of Calais, northern France, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. Children and pregnant women were among at least 27 migrants who died when their small boat sank in an attempted crossing of the English Channel, a French government official said Thursday Nov. 24, 2021. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also announced the arrest of a fifth suspected smuggler thought to have been involved in what was the deadliest migration tragedy to date on the dangerous sea lane.

    Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights stand next to a banner reading "309 dead on the France UK border since 1999", during a gathering outside the port of Calais, northern France, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. Children and pregnant women were among at least 27 migrants who died when their small boat sank in an attempted crossing of the English Channel, a French government official said Thursday Nov. 24, 2021. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also announced the arrest of a fifth suspected smuggler thought to have been involved in what was the deadliest migration tragedy to date on the dangerous sea lane. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/28/2021 10:45 AM

CALAIS, France -- Top European migration officials held an emergency meeting Sunday in the French port of Calais to find ways to better fight migrant smuggling, after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in an overcrowded inflatable boat.

U.K. officials were notably absent from the gathering at the Calais City Hall, after Wednesday's sinking prompted a new political crisis between Britain and France. The neighbors accuse each other of not doing enough to deter people from taking the treacherous journey.

 

British Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was 'œunfortunate' that she was uninvited to the meeting, and reiterated Britain's proposal for returning migrants to France. French officials firmly rejected the idea when it was initially proposed, and said Britain was no longer welcome at Sunday's talks.

France is carrying out an organized crime investigation into the sinking - the deadliest migration accident on the Channel on record. Iraqi Kurds and at least one Somali were among those aboard, though most have not been publicly identified.

Government ministers from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France met in Calais with officials from the European Union, the EU border agency Frontex and the police agency Europol. They are focusing on smuggling networks, who charge from 3,000 to 7,000 euros ($3,400 to $7,900) for the journey across the Channel. France's interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, said a car with German license tags was seized in connection with the investigation.

Earlier Sunday, Patel met with Dutch Migration Minister Ankie Broekers-Knol and stressed 'œthe need for European partners to work together' through shared intelligence and joint police initiatives, according to her office.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

'œBoth agreed that return agreements are essential for breaking the criminal business model," it said.

The EU home affairs commissioner, Ylva Johansson, tweeted that fighting smugglers is 'œkey' to any solution, and called for a common approach. EU countries have long argued over how to manage migration.

Aid groups, meanwhile, are arguing for more humane, coordinated asylum policies instead of just more police. At makeshift camps along the French coast, clusters of people from Sudan, Iran and Iraq huddle under the chilly rain, waiting for their chance to cross the Channel. They're undeterred by Wednesday's deaths or the stepped-up beach patrols.

The number of migrants trying to cross the channel in small boats has jumped this year, amid pandemic travel restrictions and after Britain's Brexit departure from the EU. Overall, however, the number of migrants arriving in Britain is low compared with other European countries.

___

Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.