Tuesday

19th Jun 2018

EU offers aid to France for migrants, shows little sympathy for UK

  • Eurotunnel said there have been 37,000 attempts by migrants since January to reach the UK (Photo: Jey OH photographie)

The EU has said it can provide aid to France as it struggles to deal with the growing number of migrants around the northern port city of Calais but has shown little sympathy for UK complaints about the situation noting that it expects more solidarity from London.

"The commission is aware that the situation as regards migrants in Calais is deteriorating. This is another stark example of the need for a greater level of solidarity and responsibility in the way we deal with migratory pressures in Europe," a commission spokesperson said Monday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

"We can provide technical assistance through the EU agencies and emergency funding" to France, she added.

However, in a pointed aside to London, she stressed that the commission expects all member states to take part in a scheme it proposed earlier this year to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers that have arrived in Greece and Italy via the Mediterranean.

At a meeting in July, EU states as a whole fell short of the target with the UK - along with Austria and Hungary - refusing to take part in the distribution system.

Britain has an opt-out on EU migration policy, however Ireland, which has the same set-up, agreed to take part in the relocation scheme.

"Commissioner Avramopoulos has repeatedly stressed the commission expects all member states to take part in the relocation mechanism that we have proposed and to put solidarity into practice," said the spokesperson referring to the EU's top migration official.

"[Member states] all have to show solidarity and take their share of responsibility."

Her remarks come as Calais has become another flashpoint for EU migration policy. Migrants, often having travelled for months from countries such as Somalia and Eritrea, have set up a camp near the port in the hope of making it over to the UK.

On Sunday night (2 August), there were 1,700 attempts to get into the tunnel linking France and England. Eurotunnel, the tunnel operator, last week said it had blocked over 37,000 such attempts since January.

The sense of crisis has been heightened by the language surrounding the debate.

British PM David Cameron referred to a "swarm" of migrants trying to get to the UK while British tabloids have suggested that the French authorities are not doing enough to stop people making it across the Channel.

The policy response is to build higher walls around the entrance of the Channel Tunnel.

The interior ministers of both countries writing in the Sunday Telegraph spoke of a "global migration crisis" and asked EU and African countries to help to deal with it.

Change of focus

The UK's call represents a change from a few months ago when Italy's pleas for solidarity and aid dominated the discussion on migration.

In response to Rome's direct requests to all EU states to help with missions to search and rescue migrants and to take their fair share of asylum seekers, the UK agreed to send one ship from its Royal Navy. In 2014, some 170,000 migrants arrived in Italy, a number that is expected to be exceeded this year.

According to Eurostat figures, 26,000 people applied for asylum in the UK in 2014, with 10,000 accepted.

Germany takes the greatest number of refugees of all EU states. The spike in numbers this year, sparked by crises in countries such as Syria, has seen its system put under strain however.

A report in Handelbslatt newspaper notes that with the around 6,000 refugees expected alone in the region on North Rhine Westphalia this week, the capacity to receive and process the applications is stretched to the limit.

Retired civil servants have been called into help while recreation areas, sport halls and the like are being used to house and process migrants' applications.

UK and Germany talk tough on migrants

The British and German governments have called for a new crackdown on migrants, in statements denounced as populist rhetoric by left-wing politicians.

Investigation

UK unlawfully copying data from EU police system

The British government is abusing EU travel security systems, making and using illegal copies of outdated information, and putting innocent people at risk of being red-flagged.

Feature

EU and Turkey fight for 'lost generation'

Some 300,000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey are not enrolled in classes. Fears they may end up in sweatshops or forced to beg have triggered efforts by the EU, Unicef, and the Turkish government to keep them in school.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Audi CEO arrested over Dieselgate
  2. EU-Australia trade talks kick off in Brussels next month
  3. France and Germany moving closer to eurozone reform
  4. Merkel to meet Conte to find migration compromise
  5. Seehofer gives Merkel time to strike EU migration deal
  6. Schroeder and Sarkozy appear with Putin at World Cup
  7. Tennis champ and 'EU diplomat' claims immunity
  8. Italy threatens to ditch EU-Canada free trade deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  2. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. Orban to EPP: turn 'Christian democratic' or face challenge
  2. Is EU retail sector equipped for 21st century?
  3. Tear gas bodes ill for Macedonia name deal
  4. EU asylum claims drop, Germany registers most
  5. EU summit: migrants get a 'vote' too
  6. Basque threat of 'second front' for independence
  7. Progressive regulation needed now for 21st century finance
  8. Greece and Merkel's fate top This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us