Britain faces "headache" over migrant crisis

Thursday, 2021-12-02 11:46:52
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Illegal crossings of the English Channel (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – While struggling to cope with the “double change” of COVID-19 pandemic and restoration of economic growth, the UK is facing a “headache” over the migrant crisis.

Perhaps London has never understood the feeling of “loneliness” before now, as they no longer have the European Union (EU) by its side and are facing post-Brexit pressure.

Nearly two years after officially leaving the EU, the UK has not been able to completely address the legal disputes with this union. The problems causing London’s headaches, such as Scotland wanting to separate from Britain to stay in the “common house” of the EU, the controversy over the freedom of movement of UK and EU citizens, and the level of tax imposed on goods, have not yet subsided, while London must also worry about solving the problem of illegal migrants.

In recent days, the English Channel, which is quite cold in the winter, has become bustling with boats carrying migrants to cross from France to the UK. The famous channel witnessed a heartbreaking scene as a migrant ship capsized, killing at least 27 people, including children.

However, perhaps what has left British officials more “heartbroken” was the EU's cold attitude. Immediately after the boat capsized, the European Commission's vice president Margaritis Schinas told Britain has to sort out its own migrant problems because “the UK has left the EU”. He even sarcastically recalled the main slogan of the referendum campaign is "we take back control".

The migration issue also strained relations between Britain and France. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Paris will not let London pressure a response but is willing to cooperate with the UK. However, France had been handling the issue of illegal migration to Britain for 25 years and it is now time London woke up.

The French side also “coldly” rejected the British proposal to unilaterally force the boats carrying migrants back to France, saying that this would violate international maritime law and put the lives of migrants in danger. Paris urged London to establish a legal route for migrants seeking asylum to help deter migrants from attempting to cross the English Channel.

On the other hand, British Health Minister Sajid Javid said that Britain needs France's cooperation to curb the flow of migrants trying to enter the UK illegally.

The UK used to be a leading member of the EU for 47 years. However, after the sudden decision to part with the alliance, London is still adjusting to not having "comrades" by its side to share their difficulties and troubles.

Translated by NDO