UK pays France €62.7 million to tackle illegal immigration

Home Secretary Priti Patel. Image:

The Home Secretary and the French Interior Minister signed an agreement to strengthen joint efforts to tackle illegal immigration, but it will cost British tax payers €62.7 million.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin signed an agreement to strengthen UK-France joint cooperation to tackle illegal immigration across the Channel.

This follows a rise in dangerous crossings and will see the number of police patrolling French beaches more than double for the second time in a year to prevent illegal migration and stop small boats from departing French beaches.

The agreement comes as the Home Secretary’s New Plan for Immigration is debated in Parliament this week. The Nationality and Borders Bill will address the failures of the current asylum system and the criminal activity behind illegal migration.

“The British people have simply had enough of illegal migration and the exploitation of migrants by criminal gangs,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel said on July 20.

“Illegal immigration is driven by serious organised criminals and people smugglers. The public are rightly angry that small boats are arriving on our shores, facilitated by appalling criminal gangs who profit from human misery and put lives at risk.

“The government is addressing the challenge of illegal migration for the first time in over two decades through comprehensive reform of our asylum system which will enable us to going after the gangs exploiting people, deter illegal entry into the UK, introduce new and tougher criminal offences for those attempting to enter the UK illegally and strengthen our ability to remove those with no legal right to be in the UK,” she added.

With UK support last year, France doubled the number of officers deployed daily on French beaches, improved intelligence sharing and purchased more cutting-edge technology.

This resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year than in the same period in 2020.

However, as French interceptions increased, organised criminal gangs have changed their tactics, moving further up the French coast, and forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys.

The agreement includes:

  • improving law enforcement deployments along the coast of France, more than doubling resource focused on addressing illegal migration. French officers will patrol wider areas of coastline across the northern coast between Boulogne and Dunkirk, and will expand patrols further north-west around Dieppe
  • deploying wide area surveillance technology to improve coverage of the coast of France to prevent crossing attempts, including the use of aerial surveillance
  • investment in infrastructure to increase border security at key border crossing points along the Channel coast

The UK and France also agreed that further collaboration would be required to significantly disrupt the organised crime which underpins the small boats phenomenon as well as any other form of illegal migration towards the UK through France.

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.


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