The UK announced on Friday it would pay $576 million over the next three years as part of a deal with France to tackle illegal immigration across the Channel.
The deal was announced at a joint summit between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday.
The money will fund a new detention center for migrants in France and the deployment of 500 French security and support officers “to enable the fastest detection of attempted crossings” by small boats, according to a joint statement from the two countries. .
Friday’s meeting saw the two leaders underline their countries’ deep ties, after years of tension over post-Brexit negotiations, fishing rights, an undersea deal with Australia and immigration.
“The level of ambition of this plan is exactly what we need,” Macron said, adding, “it is not an agreement between the UK and France but between the UK and the EU “.
Sunak, who has come under fire from a human rights group for his moves to block cross-Channel immigration with a new law criticized as racist, illegal and unenforceable, said the UK “will always abide by our international treaty obligations”.
The UK has seen a rise in the number of illegal migrants who pay gangs of human traffickers to smuggle them into Britain in small unseaworthy boats. Many of these boats sank and people died.
The 19-page joint statement from the Elysee Palace focused on the potential for greater defense cooperation between the two nuclear powers, the deployment of fighter jets on each other’s aircraft carriers, to the joint production of future cruise missiles.
On Ukraine, the leaders promised closer cooperation, especially regarding the supply of equipment and ammunition to Kyiv.
They also pledged to support the training of Ukrainian marines in the UK, while offering to seek “security guarantees” with Ukraine “that will help [Kyiv] to defend in the long term and block potential future attacks,” the joint statement read.