Prime Minister Theresa May managed to stop France acting on one of its biggest post-Brexit threats to Britain — opening the borders to Calais.
Calais is currently home to 7,307 migrants and refugees, according to charities Help Refugees and L’Auberge des Migrants and that number it expected to exceed 10,000 by the end of September.
Reducing net migration as well as illegal immigration was a key issue for voters leaning towards leaving the European Union.
Before the June 23 vote, French politicians, as well Remain campaigner and former UK prime minister David Cameron, warned that if Britain voted for a Brexit, then it would relax the border controls at the French coastal town of Calais and thereby opening Britain up to potentially more risk of illegal immigration.
At the time, French finance minister Emmanuel Macron the told the Financial Times that a “leave” vote would stop “Le Touquet” agreement — where British immigration officials are allowed on French soil in Calais and Dunkirk — and added “the day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais.”
However, May managed said in a speech in Paris, “we are both very clear that the agreement should stay.”
Hollande added, “we consider it as our duty … to apply it and also to improve it.”
The agreement will be seen as a success back in the UK for May after news broke that Britain’s government is already abandoning the one thing Brexiteers and Tory voters wanted done — a reduction in immigration.
Before May was installed as the UK’s prime minister, she was the home secretary and was charged with the task of reducing net migration. She failed, however, to reduce that number to 100,000.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, in its “Migration Statistics Quarterly Report,” show that net migration to Britain in 2015 reached 333,000. This was an increase of 20,000 from 2014. This number does not include illegal immigration.
If May triggers Article 50, Britain will have two years to negotiate the terms of it breaking away from the UK, and one of those issues is the Freedom of Movement Act.
However, since it will not be triggered by the end of the year, Hollande said that “there cannot be discussions or pre-negotiations before the negotiation [because] uncertainty is the greatest danger.”
May said “I hope that we can all make the most of the next six months to prepare for these discussions in a constructive way.”
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