British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to step up efforts to tackle human trafficking following the drowning of 27 migrants in the English Channel.
The UK and France have agreed to work together to prevent migrant crossings across the Channel following the deaths of at least 27 people after their small inflatable boat capsized in freezing water.
Initial talks between UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin have been “positive”, with the two countries admitting they need to work together to help tackle human trafficking.
Downing Street said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of the devastating scenes – where 17 men, seven women, one pregnant woman and three children drowned – and agreed to escalate “urgently” their joint efforts.
Mr Johnson said he was “shocked, dismayed and deeply saddened” after hearing the news of the crash on the French coast.
“Now is the time for all of us to step up, work together and do all we can to stop these gangs getting off with the murder,” he tweeted.
French President Emmanuel Macron has sworn he does not want the English Channel to become a “cemetery”.
Mr Macron called for the “immediate strengthening” of Frontex, a European border and coast guard agency, and called an emergency meeting of European leaders as the challenges of migrants continue in a number of country.
A spokesperson for the British Prime Minister added that the UK and France will work closely with countries like Belgium and the Netherlands to effectively tackle the problem before people reach French shores. .
Mr Macron urged Mr Johnson not to use the drowning tragedy “for political ends,” the BBC reported.
“Everything will be done to find and punish those responsible for the fatal passage,” he said in a statement.
“We were all moved by this tragedy, which struck us all deep within ourselves.”
Five people were arrested on suspicion of being linked to the incident.
Mr Darmanin said it was the biggest migratory tragedy on this expanse of dangerous waters.
It was initially believed that 34 people were on board the boat when it capsized, but the number has been revised down to 27.
Despite the latest drowning tragedy, another boat arrived hours after the deaths. Crossings have tripled this year alone in the world.
Migrants from countries like Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq, often fleeing poverty and conflict, make the risky journey in often undersized, dangerous boats with dozens crammed aboard.
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