Bor­der checks agree­ment could now be un­der threat

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Brexit -

A bor­der agree­ment that al­lows the UK to carry out checks on the French side of the Chan­nel could be un­der threat fol­low­ing the EU ref­er­en­dum re­sult.

It has been claimed that if the ar­range­ment ends it would mean that mi­grant camps in Calais could be es­tab­lished in Folke­stone or Dover.

Nat­acha Bouchart, the Calais mayor, gave cre­dence to those claims when she said she would push for the bor­der agree­ment to be sus­pended in the wake of the ref­er­en­dum re­sult.

She said: “The Bri­tish must take on the con­se­quences of their choice.

“We are in a strong po­si­tion to push, to press this re­quest for a re­view, and we are ask­ing the pres­i­dent to bring his weight to the is­sue.

“We must put ev­ery­thing on the ta­ble, and there must be an el­e­ment of di­vi­sion, of shar­ing.”

But the idea the treaty would be scrapped was given short shrift by the French gov­ern­ment, with French for­eign min­is­ter JeanMarc Ayrault dis­miss­ing the idea.

He said: “Would that also mean putting in place boats for peo­ple who oth­er­wise risk drown­ing? I think we should be se­ri­ous.”

Xavier Bertrand, the cen­treright pres­i­dent of the Hauts-deFrance re­gion, which in­cludes Calais, had ear­lier tweeted: “The English wanted to take back their free­dom. They must take back their bor­der.”

The pos­si­bil­ity Brexit could trig­ger an end to the bi­lat­eral Le Tou­quet treaty al­low­ing UK bor­der con­trols to be car­ried out in France was raised by the prime min­is­ter ear­lier in the year.

David Cameron said there were “any num­ber of op­po­si­tion politi­cians” in France who would “love” to tear up the deal.

Folke­stone and Hythe MP Damian Collins said ear­lier this year: “It is a cred­i­ble claim be­cause the cur­rent ar­range­ments do work mas­sively in our favour.

“If the French au­thor­i­ties were to re­move bor­der con­trols, then the mi­grants at Calais would end up in Kent and claim asy­lum here... It is a real risk.”

Mi­grants at Calais

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