Thursday 3 March 2016

Lost in translation?

From the BBC:

The agreement between France and the UK that allows the UK to conduct border controls on the French side of the Channel is a bilateral treaty that is not connected to Britain's EU membership.

It is meant to stop people from travelling across the Channel without their immigration status being checked - but has led to the establishment of the so-called Jungle camp in Calais, where about 4,000 migrants are thought to be waiting to cross...

France could opt to end the border treaty any time - but the country's interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said to do so would be "foolhardy" and cause "a humanitarian disaster".

His colleague, economy minister Emmanuel Macron, gave a different view in his FT interview, saying of Britain's EU membership: "The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais."

Say what?

To summarise: if we vote to leave, on the next day, the French will do something which they themselves describe as 'foolhardy' and which would cause 'a humanitarian disaster'?

Go for it lads, go for it.

It's a bit like Cameron's volte face:

November 2015:

The Prime Minister told an audience at the Confederation of British Industry that the EU referendum debate was not about whether exit from the bloc was possible.

“Some people seem to say that really Britain couldn’t survive, couldn’t do okay outside the European Union. I don’t think that is true. Let’s be frank, Britain is an amazing country. We’ve got the fifth biggest economy in the world. We’re a top ten manufacturer. We’ve got incredibly strong financial services. The world wants to come and do business here.

“Look at the record of inward investment. Look at the leaders beating the path to our door to come and see what’s happening with this great country’s economy. The argument isn’t whether Britain could survive outside the EU. Of course it could.”

February 2016:

The Prime Minister said he believes Britain will be "stronger, safer and better off" in a reformed EU.

He also warned of the security challenges facing the West and said it was no time for division.

"The challenges facing the West today are genuinely threatening," Mr Cameron said. "Putin’s aggression in the east, Islamist extremism to the south. In my view this is no time to divide the west."


Dinero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven_L said...

France could opt to end the border treaty any time

Surely that would leave the UK no option but to withdraw from L'Entente Cordiale?

Mark Wadsworth said...

The first comment was as follows "The gathering point where the intention is to cross a stretch of water is on the side of the water that is the embarking side. To scrutinize the logic of the Ministers prediction think of where it was before the agreement and that was Sangatte."


SL, are we still in that?

Steven_L said...

I think so, wikipedia says it's still going. I guess it might have been kind of superseded in practice by the EU and NATO etc. But nevertheless, it would still be a major snub to the if we withdrew, or vice versa, so maybe we should beat them to it?

Ralph Musgrave said...

Surely the main reason for the existence of the jungle is that the French police (surprise surprise) take steps to stop people breaking into trucks and clinging the underside of trains, as presumably they do elsewhere in France. Though no doubt that problem is not so acute elsewhere in France.

I.e. M.Macron is making the bizarre claim that after Brexit, law breaking will be allowed in Calais.

Mark Wadsworth said...

SL, good plan, get your retailiation in first.

RM, that's French logic for you...

Dan said...

Where cross-channel ferries are concerned, the Law of the Sea prevails. This states that the country where a ship docks is perfectly at liberty to refuse to accept anyone they don't like. This includes illegal immigrants and those without correct paperwork.

So, were the French to play silly buggers on their side of things, the English ports would simply have to become much more stringent regarding inspections of vehicles, and travellers' paperwork. Anyone who did not have the correct paperwork would simply get put back on the ferry and would become the problem of the ferry operators.

Ferry operators are there to make money. If they start having problems with illegals trying to get across, then they'll simply institute their own checks and at that point, we're back to where we started from.

An alternative to this is a boycott of Calais as a port. It really wouldn't take long to get the message across to the French that being pillocks and not excluding illegals from ferries is a really, really bad idea.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Dan, yes, spot on. Worst case we have to take the ferry to Ostend or Rotterdam instead of Calais or Dunkirk, we lose an hour or so each way, big deal.