UK and France agree on closer cooperation

25 Mar 2024, 56 mins ago

In discussions held in Paris on Tuesday (30 January), Home Secretary James Cleverly and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin delved into their shared priorities and the enduring bond between the UK and France, highlighting the potential for even deeper cooperation.

This year commemorates the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, a pivotal moment in UK-French relations.
Commending the efforts of French law enforcement, the Home Secretary noted a 36% reduction in the number of small boats reaching the UK in 2023, attributing this success to joint efforts. Plans to expedite the deployment of key aerial surveillance equipment, outlined in the March 2023 UK-France Summit agreement, were also discussed, aiming to enhance interception capabilities and prioritise cross-Channel cooperation for maritime safety.
Both ministers expressed a commitment to intensify intelligence-sharing, in order to disrupt the supply of materials for small boats. Additionally, they explored broader pan-European strategies to combat illegal migration, including a proposed meeting of the Calais Group Interior Ministers in the spring.
Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasised the importance of the UK-France partnership in addressing security threats, praising French law enforcement’s dedication and pledging continued collaboration, particularly in light of France’s upcoming Olympic hosting duties.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin highlighted the necessity of deepening cooperation in combating smuggling networks and advocated for a UK-EU agreement on migration issues. He also underscored joint efforts to ensure security at major events, with a focus on the Summer Olympics.
Acknowledging recent tragic incidents in the Channel, both ministers affirmed their commitment to dismantling criminal networks and preventing dangerous crossings. Enhanced collaboration since May 2023, including the presence of UK liaison officers in northern France, has facilitated information exchange and joint investigations into organised crime.
The enduring UK-France relationship extends beyond migration issues, encompassing joint efforts to counter terrorism at home and abroad. The UK’s ongoing support for France, drawing on experiences from past events, underscores the strength of this partnership.

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