the Touquet accords at the heart of critics

Haro on the Touquet chords. Following the sinking of a boat in the English Channel which caused the death of 27 people on Wednesday November 24, many political leaders and associations are calling for the renegotiation of this treaty signed in 2003 between France and the United Kingdom .

The signing of these agreements, which took place after the closure of the Sangatte center in 2002, made it possible to facilitate border controls in the ports of the Channel and the North Sea, but above all created a legal framework so that French and British agents can carry out checks in the two countries indifferently. In return, London finances part of these controls and the securing of sites in Calaisis. In 2018, the two countries signed the Sandhurst Treaty forcing London to increase its contribution to border security at Calais by 50 million euros.

Read the analysis: Article reserved for our subscribers Shipwreck of migrants in the English Channel: the Touquet accords at the heart of the drama

But for several politicians and associations, these agreements have become ineffective and obsolete since the arrival of thousands of migrants in the north of France wishing to join Great Britain, but also since the United Kingdom left the European Union. (EU). Before London leaves the EU, the Dublin regulation – which provides that the examination of an asylum application be made in a single Member State, most often that of entry to the continent – could justify le « not » from the United Kingdom to migrants from Calais. The UK is now a third country and the Dublin regulation no longer applies.


“I will denounce the Touquet accords”, thus affirmed Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidate of France rebellious to the presidential election, Thursday, November 25, on BFM-TV. “We are not meant to be the gatekeepers of England, to persecute people or to push them into unreasonable acts to cross., he explained. Where do people want to go: in England. Well, they’ll go to England. “ The deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône rather wishes “Create a humanitarian corridor so that anyone who wants to go to England can do so. We will help people to cross ”.

Read the story: Article reserved for our subscribers After the death of 27 migrants in a shipwreck off Calais, the anger of associations

For the national secretary of Europe Ecology-The Greens, Julien Bayou, it is also necessary “Denounce these Tourquet agreements”, which make French law enforcement agencies “Border guards for the United Kingdom”, he regretted Friday morning on Europe 1. Instead, “We must organize safe passageways” to allow migrants to apply for asylum in the UK, he said. “What does that say about our society when the government gives the order to the police to harass migrants, to prevent associations from giving them food, to order our forces to the order to stab the tents so that these people could not find refuge? “, he wonders.

“We have a President of the Republic who said a few years ago that he wanted to renegotiate the Touquet agreements. Nothing was done and today is a concert of hypocrisie, for his part deplored Thursday the first secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, on Franceinfo. We must ensure that immigration applications to Great Britain can be made under good conditions to avoid these tragedies. “

Unanimity on the right

On the right too, the candidates for the nomination of the Republicans party are calling for a renegotiation with the British government of these Touquet agreements. “I want to question the agreements, I want to denounce them, explained Xavier Bertrand, on November 9 on Europe 1. For the implementation of these agreements to take place, it takes two years. Two years during which the British will be forced to return to the negotiating table. I have been asking this for years. ” In an interview with Figaro, Valérie Pécresse’s campaign director, Patrick Stefanini, also believes that “Renegotiate the Touquet agreements and demand that the United Kingdom finance the security of the Channel Tunnel, the security of the ports, and mainly that of Calais, but also that it finance the surveillance of our coasts”.

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The author of the book Immigration: these realities that are hidden from us (Robert Laffont) also suggests ” ask yourself a question ” on the establishment in France by the British “Immigration and asylum offices that would allow them to sort out migrants with family in the UK, those with valid asylum claims, and others.” “The installation of these offices would make it possible to organize a flow of legal immigration”, he believes.

For their part, the associations are also pleading for a renegotiation of the Touquet agreements. “We must call into question these agreements at Le Touquet [entrés en vigueur en 2004] and Sandhurst [2018] which placed the British border on the French side, in Calais, wishes the head of the migration department of Secours Catholique, Laurent Giovannoni, in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP). We must first renegotiate bilaterally with the United Kingdom, then, if necessary, with a few partners and states concerned, such as Belgium, without necessarily going through the EU. “

In a tribune at World, the President of France Terre d’Asile, Thierry Le Roy, regrets that “The governments of the two countries, France and the United Kingdom, which created this situation by their Sangatte and Le Touquet agreements, maintain it despite these criticisms, and the living conditions in Calais, for migrants but also for residents “. “They maintain it until now, in particular on the grounds that the official opening of an access route to asylum in the United Kingdom at the British border would create a ‘breath of fresh air’ for migrants and asylum seekers. ‘asylum wandering in Europe and France’, he continues in his text.

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At present, the French government does not intend to engage in discussions with London to reverse these agreements. “We can ask all the questions about the agreements, you will never be able to change either the geography, or the geopolitical balances, or the desire of migrants who want to go to Great Britain”, thus declared the spokesman of the government, Gabriel Attal, Friday morning on BFM-TV.

The World with AFP