A breakthrough deal between the UK and France to combat Channel crossings by migrants could be ready within the next week, it has been reported.
The agreement, which would see an increase in French police on the country’s northern beaches, could be ready as early as Monday, according to The Telegraph.
Foreign secretary James Cleverly met with French foreign minister Catherine Colonna on Thursday to discuss the “urgency of tackling all forms of illegal migration”.
The pair agreed to finalise the “ambitious package as soon as possible” in a statement released following their meeting.
The UK-France agreement will reportedly see British immigration officials act as “observers” to the operations in a joint control centre in France. Britain wanted Border Force officials to join French officers on the beach, however, the proposal was met with some resistance from France.
Currently, about 200 gendarmes and volunteer officers patrol the French beaches, but this number is set to significantly increase once the deal comes into action, the newspaper reports.
The agreement could also see the two countries using live intelligence to track migrants’ movements across the Channel using the UK Border Force’s vessels, drones and satellite surveillance.
The recent development in the landmark deal comes after Rishi Sunak said earlier this week that he and home secretary Suella Braverman were working “day and night” to end “the unacceptable rise in Channel crossings”.
In response to Conservative former minister Maggie Throup’s calls for the prime minister to promise an “immediate reduction in asylum seekers concentrated in one place”, Mr Sunak gave an “absolute cast-iron commitment that we want to get to grips with this problem”.
He said: “She has my reassurance that the home secretary and I are working day and night to resolve this problem, not just to end the use of expensive contingency accommodation but for more fundamental reform so that we can finally get to grips with this issue, protect our borders and end illegal migration.”