Figures from across the EU state’s political spectrum rounded on Boris Johnson’s Government after 27 people drowned while trying to cross the stretch of water yesterday. Among the dead were three children and a pregnant woman.
It sparked calls for immediate action to resolve the issue. Around 47,000 people have attempted to make the perilous journey this year alone.
Reacting to the news, Daniel Fasquelle, the Mayor of Touquet-Paris-Plage, said: “This tragedy is a sign of the failure of the Government’s policy of forcibly detaining in France migrants who are seeking asylum in Great Britain.
“It is not for lack of having alerted the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister on several occasions to the risks these migrants, desperate to reach Great Britain, were taking.
“A situation that has continued to worsen while the only response of the French government has been, until now, to ask for more and more money from the British to prevent the migrants from passing through Calais.
“Faced with this situation, I ask that the French government immediately open negotiations with the British authorities with only one point on the agenda: the British must finally accept to welcome on their soil the asylum seekers to investigate their asylum application. This absurd and inhumane situation must end as soon as possible.”
Socialist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon said “shame on those who made this possible and first of all on the smugglers”.
He called for “open safe access” to the UK to stop more migrants from dying.
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Meanwhile, Anne Sophie Pelletier – an MEP for the French socialist party La France Insoumise – slammed the Governments of Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron for creating an “inhuman policy towards refugees”.
She accused them of “harassing” them every day and “trampling over their fundamental rights”.
Thierry Mariani – an independent MEP and former cabinet minister – took a different tact.
He claimed that the “only way to prevent such tragedies from happening again in the Channel is to effectively control our borders”.
He claimed that “encouraging and supporting illegal immigration leads to such tragedies”.
Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, said her “thoughts are with the victims”.
She claimed that action must be taken and it is “time to show humanity at our borders”.
Ms Hidalgo went on to “call on the authorities to take their responsibilities and to put an end to the actions of the smugglers”.
Both Mr Johnson and Mr Macron have agreed more needs to be done but are yet to establish a concrete way of fixing the issue.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega