A man was killed as more than 1,500 migrants poured into restricted areas at the Calais Eurotunnel terminal on Monday night. He is believed to be of Sudanese origin. This shocking news comes despite repeated efforts by both the French and U.K. governments to stop the tide of people attempting to reach the U.K. via the channel tunnel.
Ramping up the efforts
The U.K. recently sent part of the National Barrier Asset, a temporary fencing apparatus, originally designed to protect high profile locations from riots and terror attacks. It has set up the barrier around the freight section of the Calais terminal in an effort to prevent migrants from climbing aboard lorries and freight trains.
However, in the past week, hundreds of migrants have still flooded these areas, leading to questions of the effectiveness of the current barrier provisions.
A cross-channel issue
In addition to the chaos on the French side, the U.K. police have instigated Operation Stack, a traffic management scheme involving lorries parking along the M20. Whilst mostly used when industrial action threatens the movement of goods, Kent police have confirmed that the operation is due to higher security procedures put in place because of the large number of migrants attempting to cross.
Both the British and French governments have called on either side to do more – the U.K. claims the French aren’t doing enough to secure their entrance, while the French want the U.K. to make itself less attractive to migrants in the first place. U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May has proposed a deal that would see the removal of migrants to West Africa in a joint operation between the two countries. She has also promised an extra £7 million in funding for the security of the vital tunnel.
Ferry strikes pile on the pressure
Compounding the legal, social and humanitarian migrant crisis is the ongoing strikes, notably by MyFerryLink, that have caused congestion across seaports on both sides of the channel. Some migrants have been attempting to use this chaos to slip across the channel undetected.
Industrial action aside, the migration through the channel tunnel is an issue that requires higher degrees of cooperation, and less pointing fingers between the U.K. and French governments if an acceptable outcome is to be reached. It is not a problem that can be solved unilaterally.