Shipwreck of migrants: Macron says "France will not let the English Channel become a cemetery"

31 migrants died in the sinking of a boat off Calais on Wednesday. The President of the Republic has promised that “everything will be done to find and condemn those responsible”.

“France will not let the Channel become a cemetery, the networks of smugglers endanger lives and challenge what we are,” Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday after the death of at least 31 migrants in the Channel, offshore from Calais. A previous report reported 27 deaths.

In a statement sent by the Elysee Palace, the Head of State affirms that “Europe in what it carries most deeply – humanism, respect for the dignity of each” “is in mourning this evening”.

“France, for several months, has been acting, in conjunction with Great Britain, to dismantle the networks of smugglers”, affirms the president, referring to the figures of 1552 smugglers “arrested on the North coast, 44 networks of smugglers dismantled”. “Despite this action, 47,000 attempted crossings have taken place to Great Britain since January 1, 7,800 migrants rescued by our rescue services,” he added.

If the efforts are not amplified, “other tragedies will happen again.” The Head of State calls in particular for “an emergency meeting of European ministers concerned by the migration challenge”, as well as “immediate reinforcement of the resources of the Frontex agency at the external borders of the European Union”.

He also calls into question the “networks of smugglers who, by exploiting misery and distress, endanger human lives and ultimately decimate families”. His Interior Ministry, Gerald Darmanin announced this Wednesday evening the arrest of four smugglers suspected of being “directly linked” to the shipwreck.

An interministerial meeting on Thursday morning

Prime Minister Jean Castex will hold an interministerial meeting on this issue on Thursday morning at 8:30 am with the Interior Ministers, Gérald Darmanin, Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti, Armies, Florence Parly, de la Mer, Annick Girardin , of Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Secretary of State for Europe, Clément Beaune, according to his services.

To the families of victims and their loved ones, Emmanuel Macron addresses his “compassion and the unconditional support of France” and “assures them that everything will be done to find and condemn those responsible who, networks of smugglers exploiting misery and distress, endanger human lives and ultimately decimate families “.

This tragedy is the deadliest since the soaring in 2018 of migratory crossings of the Channel, facing the increasing lockdown of the port of Calais and the Channel tunnel used until then by migrants trying to reach England.

Mathieu Coache with Fanny Rocher with AFP

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