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article imageFrance and Britain's Le Touquet Treaty on migration - key points

By AFP     Jan 17, 2018 in World

The 15-year-old Treaty of Le Touquet between France and Britain on migration controls has resulted in massive bottlenecks of migrants stranded on the French side of the border.

As the two countries prepare to announce additions to the much-criticised accord, here is some background:

- The treaty was signed on February 4, 2003, at the 25th Franco-British summit in the French seaside resort of Le Touquet. It came into force on February 1, 2004.

- It was aimed at resolving a crisis over the Red Cross's Sangatte refugee centre on the French side of the tunnel under the English Channel.

The massively overcrowded centre, set up in 1999, was shut in 2002 under pressure from London, which saw it as a magnet for migrants trying to cross the Channel to reach Britain.

Britain, not a member of Europe's visa-free Schengen Area that includes 26 countries, wanted new measures to stop the entry of non-EU citizens without a visa.

- The key provision of the treaty was the establishment of "juxtaposed national control bureaus" in the sea ports of both countries on the Channel and the North Sea.

This meant each country would set up immigration control points at the borders of the other, in particular the French immigration checkpoint in Dover and the British checkpoint in Calais.

- Other bilateral accords followed in 2009, 2010 and 2014 that laid out that Britain would finance and control security of the border checkpoint sites in France.

In exchange, it would be up to France to stop migrants trying to enter Britain illegally.

- The treaty does not have a time limit but it can be terminated by either side by written notification which would take two years to implement.

- By effectively moving the UK border onto French territory, the treaty has resulted in hundreds of migrants wanting to cross to England being stranded in French ports like Calais, creating shanty-camp settlements such as the "Jungle" camp of some 10,000 people that was cleared out in October 2016.

The accord has been much criticised by French politicians, while the French government's human rights body CNCDH said in 2015 that it had made France the policeman of the British migration policy.

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