France, UK abandon migrants to die, now blame each other

2021-11-25 16:24:54
France, UK abandon migrants to die, now blame each other

France and Britain traded blame on Thursday after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel in an inflatable dinghy, the worst accident of its kind on record in the waterway separating the two countries.

The incident is fueling tensions between the U.K. and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats.

Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the channel are already blaming their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday's tragedy.

U.K. officials criticize France for rejecting their offer of British police and border officers to conduct joint patrols along the channel coast with French police. French authorities say Britain is stoking the crisis because it is too easy for migrants to remain in the country and work if they manage to cross the channel.

Amid the finger pointing, British lawmakers on Thursday will debate the soaring number of migrants who are crossing the channel in small boats. Macron is scheduled to discuss the issue with European Union officials.

More than 25,000 people have made the dangerous Channel crossing so far this year, about triple the total for the whole of 2020.

Critics of the European Union’s immigration policies have been accusing the EU of condemning migrants to death and evading its responsibilities toward people in distress.

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