France blames UK’s ‘attractive’ labor market, lack of deportations for Channel crossings

The French interior minster's comments came after 27 people drowned off the coast of France on Wednesday.

France blames UK’s ‘attractive’ labor market, lack of deportations for Channel crossings

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Britain’s “labor force” of “illegal immigrants” is fueling heightened numbers of migrants making dangerous boat crossing across the Channel, a day after a vessel capsized off the French coast, leaving 27 dead — the highest death toll on record for such cases.

Darmanin said in an interview to the French radio station RTL on Thursday that “Everyone knows there are more than 1.2 million illegal immigrants in Great Britain, and that British employers use this labor force to make things that the British manufacture and consume.”

He also pointed the finger at “poor” immigration handling in Britain, and compared France’s deportation numbers to the U.K.’s: “It is often said that France doesn’t deport enough, but we deport about 20,000 people a year. [the U.K.] expels 6,000, four times less than France, even though there are more people and twice as many illegal immigrants.” The U.K. figure cited by Darmanin is correct for 2020, after a significant decrease in returns, according to the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory.

“Those responsible for this tragedy which took place yesterday in the Channel are the smugglers,” Darmanin said, “who for a few thousand euros promise Eldorado England, and unfortunately this has been repeated every day for 20 years.”

Darmanin maintains daily contacts with his counterpart, British Home Secretary Priti Patel. The two are expected to discuss the next steps the two countries can take to stop small boat crossings on Thursday morning.

“Since there are 27 dead in the Channel, I’m not going to play politics (…) France and Britain must work together,” he said.

He also called on his Belgian and German counterparts to fight against smugglers operating at an international level.

U.K. Immigration Minister Kevin Foster told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that “criminal gangs” who “view the people who died yesterday as a profit” were responsible for the tragedy, and said “finger pointing isn’t very helpful.”

He urged the U.K., France and the rest of Europe to work together to tackle the problem, and said “any maritime tactics would be deployed appropriately” to deter small boats.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that there had been “difficulties” in persuading the French “to do things in a way that we think the situation deserves,” as the U.K. renewed an offer of joint patrols along the French coast.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Romanian parliament elects Nicolae Ciucă as prime minister

The new government reflects an uneasy truce between the Liberals and Social Democrats.

Romanian parliament elects Nicolae Ciucă as prime minister

Nicolae Ciucă became Romania’s prime minister on Thursday following a coalition agreement with former rivals in the center-left Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Ciucă will lead a cabinet with eight ministers from his own center-right National Liberal Party (PNL), plus nine PSD members and three from the ethnic Hungarian UDMR group. UDMR leader Hunor Kelemen will be deputy prime minister.

The final tally of Thursday’s vote was 318 MPs in favor and 126 against.

The alliance between the former rivals — who clashed in the 2019 general election amid accusations of corruption — sits uneasily with many liberal MPs.

But Ciucă, in a bid to reassure the parliament ahead of the vote, said that “above any ego and any political adversity, there is the interest of Romanians.”

The new government, which will be sworn in later Thursday and aims to start work this week, will have to tackle the pandemic’s disastrous course in the country and rising inflation. It’ll also seek to implement the reforms demanded by the European Commission under the coronavirus recovery fund. Romania is set to receive the first tranche from roughly €30 billion in grants and loans from the EU in the coming weeks.


For more polling data from across Europe visit Poll of Polls.

Ciucă’s position has an expiry date, as he is due to switch places with a PSD nominee in 2023 through an agreed “rotation” system.

However, the potential longevity of the alliance has been questioned by many, including PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu, who told media that it is expected to last “at least a year.”

Ciucă’s parliamentary approval was expected thanks to the PNL switching sides over to the PSD after the collapse of a center-right coalition in September with the Union to Save Romania (USR), now in the opposition. Ciucă abandoned an earlier attempt this month to form a minority PNL government due to lack of support from MPs.

The new coalition represents a U-turn for the center-left PSD as well, which had called for early elections before agreeing to join the administration. As the biggest party in parliament, it will control the most powerful departments, including finance, labor, defense, agriculture and transport.

“PSD had to make a choice: Will we continue to criticize an inefficient government? Or will we use our skill and expertise to immediately stop the collapse, to be on the side of Romanians and the country?” Ciolacu asked MPs ahead of the vote. “We accepted this challenge now because the PSD never runs away from responsibility.”

Source : Politico EU More   

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