France calls on Frontex to provide surveillance of Channel crossings

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he has asked Frontex, the border and coast guard agency of the European Union, not to neglect the French authorities on the northern coastline in their effort to curb irregular migration.

The Minister has asked Frontex to take action along the EU’s northern borders, which could include drones, thermal cameras and night-time binoculars, in a bid to stop migrants making the perilous journey to the UK.

“I myself have contacted Frontex, which is predominantly taking care of southern Europe, and asked them to deal with northern Europe, too, particularly the coastline of Nord-Pas-de-Calais,” Darmanin told reporters on a visit to the French port of Calais.

The number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel to Britain has been rising sharply since the end of 2018. The number of migrants who reached the UK in small boats this year has already eclipsed the total for all of 2020, when some 9,500 crossings or attempted crossings were recorded, four times as many as in 2019, according to the French authorities.