30 Nov, 2021

Renew Europe CoR President Decoster urges cooperation to avoid migrant tragedies

Following the latest migrant tragedy near Calais where at least 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel from France, President of the Renew Europe Group in the European Committee of the Regions (Renew Europe CoR) François Decoster, Vice-President of the Hauts de France region which includes Calais where the drama took place, reacted to the situation in British and Irish media, urging more cooperation between the EU and the UK on one hand and between France and the UK on the other hand. Reacting to the letter by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Charles Michel, he rejected the comparison with the situation on the Polish-Belarus border.

Talking to Channel 4 News, Decoster said:

“Every day we’re stopping people from crossing the Channel. Smugglers are exploiting vulnerable people and are behind this tragedy. We need to fight the smugglers with enhanced cooperation at the EU level and between the EU and the UK – we cannot accept these tragedies.”

You can watch his contribution here

On BBC Today, Britain’s biggest political morning radio show, Decoster added:

“We’re not speaking about figures or statistics but about human beings, we should never forget about who are the victims: migrants trying to find a better life so we have to fight the smugglers.”

You can listen to the interview here
(interview starts about 50:15)

Continuing on RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster, Decoster explained:

“In Saint-Omer, my town, we are 25 miles away from Calais. Every year we welcome 2,000 young migrants, we host them, they enter in a reintegration process; so we know them so this is first and foremost a human tragedy – everybody should be feeling a part of responsibility.”

You can listen to the interview here 
(interview starts at 1:17:15)

“The answer will not be unilateral. The answer won’t just be a French answer. It won’t be a British answer. We need to better cooperate bilaterally and have a better European approach. Boris Johnson’s comparison with the EU-Belarus border is wrong in every sense, because of the history of friendship and cooperation between the UK and France.”


Photo credit: Michel Christen, European Parliament 2021.

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