Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

JOINT STATEMENT BY HOME SECRETARY AND FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER

  • Comment
JOINT STATEMENT BY THE HOME SECRETARY DAVID BLUNKETT AND THE INTERIOR MINISTER DANIEL VAILLANT ...
JOINT STATEMENT BY THE HOME SECRETARY DAVID BLUNKETT AND THE INTERIOR MINISTER DANIEL VAILLANT

We reiterate our horror at Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United

States and express our sympathy with the American people and our

support for the American government.

France and Britain are determined to work together, and with other

democratic countries, to combat terrorism and further to consider

ways of enhancing our joint security for the future.

We examined together the measures already adopted in our respective

countries to reinforce security and agreed to remain in close

contact.

We also had a constructive discussion of how we can work together to

deal with the problem of illegal immigration, in particular people

seeking to enter Britain for northern France. We agreed that this is

not a problem limited to Britain and France. Illegal immigration is

an international phenomenon and controlling it is a matter for all

European Union member states.

We affirm our commitment to granting asylum to those who are under

threat of persecution in their own countries. But we are equally

committed to combating the illegal trafficking of human beings and

the abuse of asylum procedures.

We have agreed to work together to bring forward a new package of

measures to deter people trafficking leading up to and including at

the Laeken European Council in December. European-wide measures will

address vulnerable borders and clandestine routes into the EU.

We have agreed to travel together to visit the Balkans in the months

ahead to meet the EU immigration teams which are already established

there and to see the problem at first hand.

We will also press for swift progress to agree and implement common

EU procedures for dealing with asylum seekers, and common minimum

standards which will reduce the disparities between EU members and

inhibit 'asylum shopping' in the EU.

The French minister of the interior noted the significant measures

already taken to combat illegal immigration towards the UK including

legislation on juxtaposed controls* on Eurostar, policing of the

Channel tunnel entrance, 55,000 arrests made since the beginning of

the year. M. Vaillant also recalled the security measures so far

taken by transporters and Eurotunnel.

The home secretary recalled the steps taken in Britain since 1999 to

tighten procedures for dealing with asylum seekers. Immigration staff

and resources have been increased (almost 2,000 extra immigration

officers over the last year alone); asylum cases are being processed

more quickly; the number of returns has increased. The Home Secretary

intends in the weeks ahead to announce further measures.

Meanwhile we have discussed a number of measures to address the

situation at Coquelles and Sangatte and agreed on the following

steps:

- Britain is prepared to send officials to Sangatte to work with the

International Organisation for Migration, supported by the French

services, to provide realistic information to deter would-be

economic migrants.

- Both sides agreed that action to reduce the flow of people into the

Red Cross Centre at Sangatte should be complemented by efforts to

persuade would-be refugees to seek asylum in the first country of

arrival in the European Union.

- Britain is ready to offer advice to Eurotunnel on reinforcing its

security arrangements and will explore this further over the next

few days.

- Britain will further strengthen the number of immigration officers

at the Coquelles security zone. At the same time France will

toughen legal action against intruders there. We will follow up

these proposals together immediately. British and French police

will examine ways to improve their exchange of information.

- France will recruit additional interpreters to facilitate

investigations.

- France confirms that there is no intention to open a second

reception centre for those attempting to enter the UK illegally.

* Juxtaposed controls were recently introduced on the London/Paris

Eurostar service, and are those whereby the UK and France undertake

an immigration control in the other's country before passengers

embark. They mirror the arrangements for the immigration control on

passengers using the Channel Tunnel Shuttle, which have been in

operation since that service opened.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.