Bernard Cazeneuve and Theresa May visit Calais

Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve and counterpart Theresea May sign cooperation agreement in Calais

Bernard Cazeneuve visited Calais on Thursday 20 August in the company of his British counterpart, Theresa May.

Together they visited the Eurotunnel site and met voluntary organizations helping migrants.

They signed a new Franco-British agreement strengthening, on the one hand, their shared commitment to the site’s security and the resolute joint battle against criminal people-smuggling, human trafficking and illegal immigration rings.

And on the other hand, the ministers strengthened the humanitarian operation developed on site with voluntary organizations and local elected representatives, particularly to protect the most vulnerable.

Read the full joint declaration in English here.

France/United Kingdom/migration issues – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Interior

Paris, 20 August 2015

On 20 August 2015 in Calais, Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, signed an agreement with his British counterpart, Mrs Theresa May, providing for a strengthening of security measures and an increase in the capacity to care for migrants identified as vulnerable.

At security level:

At the beginning of the summer, there was a very sharp rise in the number of attempts to cross via the Channel Tunnel. Bernard Cazeneuve and Jacques Gounon, Chairman and CEO of Eurotunnel, discussed the difficulties linked to the mass intrusions targeting the Tunnel site.

Exceptional resources were provided to ensure its security and prevent intrusions by migrants trying to reach the United Kingdom. To the 5.5 mobile police units permanently there, another two units were added – i.e. more than 500 riot police and gendarmes in addition to the local personnel. So a total of 1,300 are deployed on the Calais site. This deployment is bearing fruit: whereas 1,700 attempted intrusions a day were recorded a month ago, this figure has been cut tenfold.

Today’s agreement states that the British government will devote €10 million over two years to strengthening police cooperation and providing additional resources to make the site secure, financing security fences and CCTV cameras. It will also help Eurotunnel increase the number of its security staff from 150 to 250.

A new control room will be created, from where additional freight search teams will be deployed 24/7 to reduce the number of illegal passengers.

British police will be deployed in Calais to help the French authorities combat the people-smuggling rings that help the clandestine migrants.

A joint command and control centre will be created in Calais and another in Folkestone, to gather intelligence and coordinate operations. The function of this “unified command” will be to find and dismantle the criminal organizations that try to take migrants illegally to northern France and across the Channel. It will be under the responsibility of two officers, one French and the other British.

At humanitarian level:

The agreement seeks to “increase observation” of migrants to “identify […] those people who are especially vulnerable or who potentially are victims of trafficking”, particularly women and children, with the idea of informing them and putting them in a safe place.

This means capacity for accommodation and care to prevent anyone seeking to exploit them from having access to those vulnerable people.

The migrants benefit from day care with showers and meals at the Centre Jules Ferry, and night places are also reserved for women and children.

The idea is also to encourage voluntary returns to the countries of origin, through information campaigns and programmes to assist [migrants] to return.

This is the purpose of the action being carried out with Niger, where a reception centre for migrants should be opening its doors by the end of the year, under the aegis of the International Organization for Migration, thanks to European funding and in coordination with the European agency Frontex, which is in liaison with the source countries.

To set the return flights in motion, a joint team to remove illegal migrants will be set up, with the British government’s financial contribution. There will also be cooperation on analysis and translation capabilities.

The agreement also seeks to increase the capacity for processing asylum requests, and in this framework “the government of the United Kingdom will provide some support to the government of France for dedicated facilities, a significant distance from Calais”, with the aim of “reducing pressure” in the Calais area.

Finally, at international level, the two countries would like to intensify dialogue with the countries of origin. They agreed to organize “a follow-up conference in Paris, possibly with other member states, by the end of the year”, and to provide support to Greece and Italy in “hot spots” – waiting zones at migrants’ arrival points in those two countries./.

United Kingdom/European Union/migration crisis – Speech by M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, on the occasion of the signature of the Franco-British joint declaration

Calais, 20 August 2015

(Check against delivery)

Minister, chère Theresa May,

Minister of State,

Madame la Préfète,


Ladies and gentlemen,

As we all know, Europe is today experiencing an exceptionally serious migration crisis. With more than 340,000 illegal entries into the Schengen Area over the first seven months of the year, all the European countries must face up to an extraordinarily large-scale influx of migrants.

As you also know, this crisis is having particularly visible consequences in the Calais area, where those migrants from the Mediterranean who plan to reach the United Kingdom obviously gather, following a long and dangerous journey. Today they number 3,000. This migratory pressure is not without its impact on the city of Calais and the Calais area, particularly in economic terms. And I want to pay tribute to the generosity and humanity the people of Calais are showing towards the migrants.

Given this very serious crisis, given the concerns it sometimes arouses among our fellow citizens, given the situations of humanitarian distress it’s causing, two reactions are possible.

Some choose to extol self-centred national goals, denounce the supposed negligence of foreign governments, stigmatize the migrants – depicted as profiteers or deserters – and rhetorically demand the restoration of borders, including where they’ve never disappeared. We’ve heard such excesses too often in recent weeks, on both sides of the Channel.

But there’s also the choice of clear-sightedness and responsibility, which is also the choice of humanity and firmness. This choice leads us to seek and implement effective solutions to regulate immigration flows, take in migrants humanely, accept our asylum obligations and combat criminal networks of people-smugglers. This choice also requires us to acknowledge that this crisis will be resolved not by disorderly national initiatives but by cooperation between the European countries concerned.

This is the purpose of the approach the French and British governments have been adopting for several months. And I want to thank my British counterpart Theresa May – with whom we’re working in full trust – for her decisive action in this field. The joint declaration we’ve just signed – she and I on behalf of our governments – is a new and important illustration of this Franco-British cooperation, made especially necessary by the gravity of the situation.


In fact, since last summer our governments have been acting resolutely to provide a response here that is commensurate with the migration crisis. I myself have visited Calais several times to ensure the decisions taken are followed up and properly implemented.

First of all, as I pledged, the humanitarian reception of the migrants has been markedly improved. A day care structure was opened after fruitful dialogue between the state – which funded its development and operation –, Calais city council – which made the site available –, voluntary organizations and the provider La Vie Active – which are in charge of its daily operations. The European Union has also contributed, subsidizing two-thirds of the project. So the Centre Jules Ferry can currently serve an average of 2,000 meals a day and enables migrants to have access to sanitary facilities, showers and power points. An accommodation unit with about 100 places for women and children has also been created to shelter these very vulnerable people.

Provision has also been established to ensure that migrants eligible for asylum can also apply for it in France. In line with the measures provided for in the new asylum law recently adopted by the French Parliament, we guarantee them accommodation outside Calais, rather than encouraging them to make a dangerous and [even] deadly crossing through the Channel Tunnel. So to date, more than 900 migrants have applied for protection in France and been able to leave Calais in the proper way.

This week we appealed to the European Commission to contribute financially to creating accommodation places for those migrants who commit to this approach and developing the campement de la lande [area outside Calais known as the "Jungle"]. Commissioner Avramopoulos told me the request would be looked into very carefully. And he’ll be accompanying me to Calais on 31 August, together with the First Vice-President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, to assess the situation and specify the contribution the European Union will be making to this policy.

Finally, the prefect’s services and the security forces are resolutely engaged in combating illegal immigration rings. For example, over the first seven months of the year, 19 networks targeting the UK were dismantled, compared to 14 throughout 2014. No fewer than 514 traffickers have been arrested since January – 18% more than in the same period last year.

Concurrently, the French and British authorities have been acting jointly to strengthen the security system existing in Calais. The British government has greatly contributed to making the port of Calais secure, by means of a Joint Fund to which it has provided €15 million, and also to making the Eurotunnel site and its surroundings secure. For its part, the French government has considerably increased the police presence on the ground. Today, 1,300 police and gendarmes are deployed on the Calais site, 500 of them sent as reinforcements by this government.

I’d like to pay tribute here to the great professionalism with which these men and women are accomplishing their mission, under difficult conditions, to prevent intrusions by migrants into the Tunnel every day – intrusions that are very dangerous and sometimes fatal for the migrants themselves.

Thanks to their efforts, the number of intrusions into the Tunnel has declined dramatically in the past three weeks. Since the end of July, the daily number of attempts has even fallen tenfold.

So the security forces’ resolute action has enabled lives to be saved and many criminals, as I’ve said, to be arrested. It’s also enabled us to take more than 1,000 foreigners who were illegally present back to the border.


Today, Theresa May and I have decided to further strengthen our cooperation on security and on fighting criminal networks, and extend it to new areas concerning certain humanitarian aspects of taking in migrants. That’s the purpose of the joint declaration by the French and British governments that we’ve just signed.

What are its salient points?

First of all it’s about further improving the security of the Channel Tunnel and the port of Calais. As I’ve said, France has stepped up its operation by deploying additional mobile units. For its part, the UK is going to provide sophisticated resources to make the Tunnel site safe and increase the security of the Tunnel entrance itself. Work has already started along the freight boarding platforms too, as we saw during our visit to the site this morning. Moreover, a new integrated control room will be created to run the CCTV systems and detection equipment. Additional freight search teams will be deployed 24/7 to reduce the number of attempted illegal crossings.

Eurotunnel also signed an agreement today to recruit about 100 security officers to increase surveillance of the site. We had a meeting in the morning with Eurotunnel’s Chairman, Jacques Gounon, whose primary goal is to ensure the continuity and fluidity of traffic under satisfactory security conditions. To this end, a cooperation agreement was also signed in this context, between the Interior Ministry and Eurotunnel. Our governments are determined to help it, particularly through a security audit – which was carried out last week by RAID [special police unit] experts and Kent police – and through the establishment of a six-monthly joint inspection programme.

It’s also about strengthening cooperation between the French and British security services, to combat illegal immigrant trafficking more effectively. In this regard, France insisted strongly that our cooperation be stepped up. So we appointed two “gold commanders” in our respective services, whom I met today and who will be tasked with ensuring a unified command, with the aim of dismantling smuggling rings. Moreover, an integrated command and control centre will be set up in Coquelles, to include staff from the French and British security forces, who will be called on to work together on a daily basis. The Calais centre will be supported in its work by the centre already existing in Folkestone in the UK. Among other things, this system will make it possible to increase the exchange of operational intelligence between our services, culminating in joint investigations against the criminal rings which organize migrant trafficking and operate on both sides of the Channel. Our two countries’ prosecutors’ offices will also work together to launch judicial prosecutions and convict their ringleaders. The greatest firmness will be in order against the cynical operators involved in human trafficking.

But as I’ve said, our cooperation won’t be confined to security issues. We also intend to tackle jointly, responsibly and humanely the issue of care for migrants in Calais. In the face of a humanitarian problem on this scale, we must further improve the protection of the most vulnerable – particularly women and children who are victims of trafficking – by sheltering them in protected accommodation. With regard to those migrants not eligible to request asylum, our governments would like to facilitate voluntary returns to the countries of origin by means of assistance programmes, in cooperation with French and British NGOs. But we must also improve information for those who would like to benefit from humanitarian protection, organize their accommodation outside Calais and speed up the processing of their applications.

These measures, which are necessarily costly, will receive financial support from the British government to the tune of €5 million a year for two years. So in total, the UK will already have contributed €35 million to improve the situation in Calais. We must thank our British partners for this.

To discuss these measures, this morning we met the leaders of the voluntary organizations working at the Centre Jules Ferry to help vulnerable women and children who have often endured terrible ordeals before arriving in Calais. I want to pay tribute to them and reiterate to them our desire to support the outstanding work they’re doing to alleviate the distress of those migrants. We’ll never agree to those migrants being treated as scapegoats.


So those are the major commitments our two governments are making to respond locally, in the Calais area and indirectly in southern England, to the effects of the migration crisis that is affecting our continent as a whole. I want to pay tribute once again to Theresa May and the British government for wanting to lend their full support to dealing with these problems.

But we French and British are also aware that medium-term solutions to this crisis must be sought at European and international level. We can’t confine ourselves to undergoing its effects on the shores of the Channel. That’s why we’ve agreed to work together, in liaison with the European institutions and other member states, particularly Germany, to make progress on several projects that must be central to European migration policy and to the fight against illegal immigration. Moreover, I’ll be visiting Berlin this evening to discuss these issues with my German counterpart, Thomas de Maizières. There will also be a joint declaration about our meeting.

The actual establishment of “hot spots” – waiting zones at migrants’ arrival points in Italy and Greece, allowing them to be identified and registered and enabling a distinction to be made between migrants needing protection and illegal migrants, first of all – is one of the main conditions France and Germany laid down for agreeing to take in people who leave those two countries. France, the UK and Germany stand ready to lend their support to Italy and Greece in this regard, particularly by sending qualified and experienced staff there.

To make progress on the return of illegal migrants, France and the UK are also asking the High Representative to initiate high-level dialogue very quickly with the main source and transit countries, as the heads of state and government requested on 26 June.

We’d also like to speed up the establishment, by the end of the year at the latest, of a centre in Niger to assist [migrants] to return and prevent departures, under the aegis of the International Organization for Migration and with the use of European funding. The creation of a similar centre in East Africa will have to be looked at. Countries of origin and transit must also be helped and supported more in managing their border areas and combating criminal rings.

Finally, as you know, the issue of partnership with source and transit countries will be central to the discussions between European and African countries at the summit to be held in Valletta on 11 November. It’s up to us to ensure the summit is properly prepared, so that it leads to concrete, operational results in the spirit of a renewed partnership with African countries.


Before handing over to Theresa May, who will want to comment in turn on this joint declaration, allow me to recall the powerful words uttered in 2004 by Her Majesty The Queen at the state banquet held at the Elysée during her visit to Paris. Our two countries were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale.

“Neither of our two great nations, nor Europe, nor the wider Western Alliance,” she said, “can afford the luxury of short-term division or discord, in the face of threats to our security and prosperity that now challenge us all.”

It seems to me, chère Theresa May, that we have scrupulously followed – in our own way and in circumstances nevertheless conducive to controversy and division – the wise advice your sovereign gave us 11 years ago. And so I want to thank you once again, personally, for your steadfast commitment to Franco-British solidarity and cooperation./.

Published on 16/02/2016

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