On Tuesday the Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, confirmed €47 million of support to the United Kingdom and France to help deal with the influx of migrants attempting the cross the Channel through the port of Calais.
The Commissioner explained that there had been “constructive and friendly” exchanges with both French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and UK Home Secretary Theresa May on the situation in the French port and on the measures being taken to address it.
He confirmed that the European Commission will now disburse the first instalment of €20 million in national funding under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund for France, and that it has already granted the UK a pre-financing of about €27 million. This money comes from the total of over €266 million earmarked for France and over €370 million earmarked for the UK for the period covering 2014-20.
In a letter to the Commission last month, Timothy Kirkhope, former UK immigration minister and Conservative Justice and Home Affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, called for action from the French government and called for proposals for an effective returns policy for failed asylum seekers.
Commissioner Avramopoulos echoed the view that there need to be greater efforts to cooperate with third countries, particularly on returns and readmission agreements. On this he expects to see “concrete results” from the Valletta Summit on 11-12 November, where EU leaders will discuss migration issues with African and other key countries.
On Monday Gianni Pittella, the president of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, again called for a comprehensive response in the EU, saying that “the time has come for EU member states to support the Commission in its efforts to give a common and strong answer to migration.”
The Commissioner stressed the need for a broader European response to managing migration, arguing that “the situation in Calais is another stark example of the need for a greater level of solidarity and responsibility in the way we deal with migratory pressures in Europe; it is one piece of a bigger puzzle that requires a broad set of responses.”
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