Calais border closure sparks dispute

By Anna Dutton

French officials have stated that they will close the UK Border Post in Calais. Arnaud Danjean, a close ally of the French election frontrunner, Alain Juppe, has said that Brexit puts France in a difficult position and French voters have been left frustrated with the result.

The closure of the Calais jungle earlier this month came as a result of the French government feeling burdened by the continuous influx of migrants. This has placed strain on resources and security. Tensions between UK and French officials has been high for some time, hindering future relations as both countries are likely to remain at odds with one another because Downing Street have insisted that the UK Border post will remain open.

Juppe’s views resonated with the French electorate and were epitomised by Mr Danjean in an interview with BBC Radio 4 “…we will have to find a new agreement” as the outcome is “…an uncomfortable consequence for Britain.”

This statement reiterates how the future is already less favourable toward Anglo-French relations and disregards the more hopeful outlook of Westminster. It shows how the French are inclined to be less lenient in their stance towards immigration as a result of Brexit.

Although the suggestion has had a positive reaction from French voters, the implication goes against the 2003 Le Touquet Treaty. This treaty outlined the details for the UK and French border controls and should not be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

The 2003 Le Touquet treaty was signed by Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac and meant that British immigration controls could check passports in Calais with French border controls doing the same at Dover. It is believed to minimise the rate of illegal immigration. However it has been put under serious strain in recent years due to increasing numbers of immigrants arriving in Calais with the intention of going on to Britain.

This agreement differs to EU regulations because the legislation was between two countries and therefore is not an enforceable law on all EU member countries.

The British Government wish to maintain this law but this could prove more difficult due to the French Government’s change of attitude post Brexit.

This change in attitude is due to vast numbers of immigrants entering the country creating challenges for the country. There have been food shortages, a lack of medical care for a number of refugees, and living conditions have not always been at sufficient standards. There have been several deaths from migrants trying to cross the channel illegally, reflecting badly on French and British officials.

Despite the result of Brexit and subsequent change in French attitudes, the Calais crisis is unlikely to be resolved by an alteration in border control. The violence, starvation and oppression that forced refugees to flee their homes in the first place has still not been addressed.