UK responsible for controlling its borders post-Brexit says EU commissioner

Europe © Ben STANSALL / AFP
NOV 27, 2021 LISTEN

The European Commission's vice president Margaritis Schinas has told Britain it has to sort out its own migrant problems post-Brexit, as the war of words between France and UK over migration and fishing rights goes on unabated.

"The UK has left the European Union," said the Greek politician who coordinates a new pact on migration and asylum.

"So the UK should now decide how to organise its border management control," Schinas told reporters on Saturday on the southeastern Greek island of Kos where he was re-opening a migrant camp.

The EU has committed 276 million euros for new camps on Leros, Lesvos, Kos, Chios and Samos, which receive most of the migrant arrivals by sea from neighboring Turkey.

"If I recall well the main slogan of the referendum campaign is 'we take back control'", said Schinas.

"Since the UK took back control it's up to them now to find the necessary measures to operationalise the control they took back."  

Tragic deaths

Seventeen men, seven women and three minors died on Wednesday when their inflatable dinghy lost air and took on water off Calais.

It escalated a crisis which has seen around 25,700 people cross the busy shipping channel this year in small boats.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that France would not let the Channel turn into “a cemetery”.

War of words

The latest migrant tragedy has prompted a war of words between France and the UK.

Macron criticised British Prime Boris Johnson on Friday over a tweeted letter, accusing him of being "not serious".

Johnson had written a private letter to Macron on Thursday proposing five ways to stop migrants crossing from France to Britain, and suggesting France take back the ones who had managed to reach Britain's shores.

The British PM then published it in full on his Twitter account, angering France.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin cancelled planned talks with his British counterpart Priti Patel on Sunday, informing her that she was no longer invited to a meeting with other European ministers.

The migration issue has added to post-Brexit tensions between Britain and France, adding to an ongoing row over fishing rights.

French trawler crews blocked a series of port and cargo terminals on Friday.

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