France and Belgium want to call in European Frontex border guards to track boats leaving for the UK.
Since the beginning of 2021, 22,000 people have already attempted to cross the Belgian and French coasts to the UK. The situation has gotten so out of control that last week sports retailer Decathlon stopped selling kayaks at its Calais and Dunkirk locations.
Frontex helps in southern and eastern Europe, but should also help in the north.
Belgium and France are now calling for Frontex to become active in the North Sea. “Frontex is helping in southern and eastern Europe, but it should do the same in the north as well,” said Minister of State for Asylum and Migration Sami Mahdi (CD&V).
On Monday, Mahdi met with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to discuss the matter. Concretely, the two will be heading to Frontex for support in “discovering boats and migrants at sea and watching the canal”. In this way they want to face the crossing, avoid disasters and try to limit migration.
If Frontex accedes to their request, it will be the first time that European border guards have prevented outbound flows rather than protecting external borders against external threats.
This will be the first time that European Frontex border guards have prevented outflows.
Now that trucks are closely monitored, more and more migrants and refugees are crossing the dangerous sea route. Last week, the state attorney general for West Flanders did not rule out the possibility of the bodies being washed off the Belgian coast.
“The situation is getting worse,” Mehdi says. “The situation is dire for the migrants who live in the area and for the police. The revenue model of people smugglers should not work. Then you have to put an end to it.
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