It may feel like it happened years ago, given the pace of the news, but it’s just over six months since David Cameron warned that a vote to Leave the EU could mean the migrant camp in Calais commonly known as ‘the Jungle’ moving to Kent “almost overnight”.
I wrote at the time that there several good reasons that made that particular scare story a non-starter, not least the existence of the English Channel. It’s still nice, though, to see the claim confirmed as a nonsense by President Hollande and Theresa May:
Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Francois Hollande have reached a “very clear” agreement to keep Britain’s border controls in Calais, dispelling fears that UK’s decision to leave the European Union will trigger moves by France to push the border controls back to British soil.
The deal was made after May went to Paris to meet Hollande in the second leg of her trip to Europe ahead of Brexit talks on Thursday (21 July). May described the talks with Hollande on the future of the UK outside the bloc as “excellent” and “open”…”We are both very clear that the agreement should stay,” May said. Hollande added that the agreement is useful to both countries. “We consider it as our duty … to apply it and also to improve it,” he said in the joint news conference.
He added: “Le Touquet ensures that we can say to migrants that there is no point coming to Calais as they will not be able to cross it.”
As Hollande himself says, any move to simply wave migrants through at Calais would be utterly self-defeating for any French administration that tried it, even if they were sufficiently malicious to want to do so . The impact of such a step would simply be to encourage thousands more migrants to travel through northern France – something which would be extremely unpopular and very costly.