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UK-France Summit 2010 Declaration on Immigration

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Declaration signed by the UK and France following the UK-France Summit 2010 in London on 2 November 2010.

With firm determination, the United Kingdom and France will continue the fight against illegal migration and against the traffickers who exploit migrants and organise the trade in human beings.

We welcome the implementation of the package of commitments agreed at the Evian Summit:

  • The creation of a Joint Intelligence Unit in Folkestone, dedicated to the fight against illegal immigration networks, has brought together British and French specialists and has allowed the exchange of information between our police forces to become standard practice. This has resulted in a number of successful joint operations, and led to the arrests of 80 individuals between January and September 2010.

  • Border controls at the port of Calais have been further strengthened by the creation of the Joint Operational Coordination Centre, bringing together the UK Border Agency, French Border Police and Customs, and also by the deployment of new security equipment financed by the United Kingdom.

  • The dismantling of the illegal encampments along the Channel and North Sea coast has deprived people smugglers of their logistical bases for trafficking migrants into the United Kingdom.

  • Over the past year, the number of attempts to illegally penetrate the border through the port of Calais has reduced by 75%.

In accordance with the European Pact on Asylum and Immigration, and in the spirit of responsibility and solidarity which drives both countries, we will engage in new initiatives to reinforce the security of our common border, with a particular view to making it impervious to illegal immigration and trafficking networks. We will:

  • Implement the second phase of the Evian arrangement by conducting a risk analysis of Northern French ports handling vehicular traffic, notably Dunkirk and Coquelles, to be completed by March 2011, with a view to strengthening further border security through use of the most appropriate technology and associated infrastructure by the next UK-France summit.

  • Continue to adapt detection technology and border control at the port of Calais, including deployment of personnel, to high risk vehicular traffic, on the basis of information feeds through the Joint Operational Coordination Centre.

These measures will take place within the framework of a fair sharing of all operational activities and expenses, in accordance with the administrative arrangement signed today by the Minister of State for Immigration of the United Kingdom and the Minister for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity-Based Development of the French Republic.

  • Strengthen coordinated police operations against illegal trafficking networks on UK and French territory, in close cooperation with other EU Member States and international partners, notably neighbouring countries along the North Sea coast. In order to broaden intelligence sharing, we will invite Belgium to join the Joint Intelligence Unit in Folkestone, and explore further expansion with other partners.

  • Increase significantly national and joint activity in the field of enforced returns and voluntary return programmes to key countries. Enforced returns will take place where the individuals concerned do not claim asylum or are not eligible for it on the respective territory of the United Kingdom or France on which they are located, and where they refuse an offer of voluntary return. Returns operations will be conducted taking into account developments in the situation in the relevant countries.

  • We will open negotiations, without delay and with due respect for European and national law, on data exchange, in order to conclude, by the next UK-France summit, an intergovernmental agreement to increase the exchange of information and intelligence necessary to combat illegal immigration.

We agree that the fight against illegal immigration cannot be limited to our own territories, but must equally be conducted upstream and take a preventative approach in the principal countries of origin and transit, and in close cooperation with these countries.

To this end, we will put in place a plan of action for the principal international routes for illegal immigration by:

  • Mobilising our networks of liaison officers deployed to third countries.

  • Coordinating the fight against clandestine embarkations on air routes to French and British territories, and through programmes of police cooperation in key countries of origin and transit.

  • Implementing jointly dissuasive and educational information campaigns in Afghanistan and Vietnam, and exploring options for projects in Iraq as well as joint projects on co-development in migrants’ regions of origin. We will continue to monitor, and exploit where appropriate, opportunities for projects in other source countries of shared interest.

At an international and European level, we will work together to mobilise our partners within the framework of concrete and operational cooperation, both in the fight against illegal immigration, and in relation to asylum.

In order to continue the work started at the Ministerial G6 meeting organised at Varese (Italy) on 28 May 2010, we support the strengthening of operational interaction between European and American police forces to optimise the sharing of intelligence and the coordination of operations designed to dismantle illegal immigration networks.

In honouring our tradition of asylum and our international commitments, we will cooperate to put an end to the increasing abuse of asylum by people traffickers, as well as to strengthen the capacity of asylum systems in those European countries that are most exposed to these risks. We will:

  • Invite the world’s top 10 asylum destination countries to systematise their exchanges within a framework of expert discussions to be held at Ministerial level, in order to exchange best practice and extend practical co-operation with the aim of reducing the abuse of asylum systems and tackling illegal migration flows.

  • At a European level, we will give priority to the implementation of effective cooperation by the new European Asylum Support Office, to ensure it delivers benefits through the coordination of practical action in areas where there is evidence of most need, including in support of the Greek Asylum Action Plan, and delivers value for money.

  • Within the framework of European negotiations currently underway, both countries will seek to promote respect for the existing rules laid down by the European Union by the totality of its Member States, as well as fair and effective procedures, guaranteeing both access to international protection for people fleeing persecution, and also an expedited review of manifestly unfounded claims.

We reaffirm that the sustainability of the European asylum system requires that people who have had their claim rejected should be returned to their country of origin.