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Dhaka Tribune

UK, EU border agency sign agreement on migration

  • The UK and the EU's border agency, Frontex, have signed an agreement to strengthen border cooperation to reduce the number of migrants arriving by small boats to the UK from mainland Europe
Update : 24 Feb 2024, 10:45 PM

The UK and the European Union's border patrol agency, Frontex, signed an agreement to strengthen border cooperation on Friday.

The UK government said the measure aims to curb irregular migration across the English Channel from mainland Europe.

Frontex said the collaboration was rooted "in the mutual understanding that effective border management requires close cooperation across borders."

The arrangement is the start of a planning phase and details are yet to be hammered out. Both parties would work together to outline "specific cooperation plans," Frontex said.

The English Channel is a busy waterway for commercial ships. Over the years it's been used by many migrants seeking a better life in the UK, often making perilous journeys in small boats.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has adopted "Stop the Boats" as a rallying cry to stop unauthorized migration across the English Channel from France. Sunak's ruling Conservative Party has made the pledge one of its five key policies ahead of general elections due no later than January 2025.

Last year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that a government plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda was unlawful because asylum-seekers would not be safe in the African country.

Sunak vowed to press on with the plan and said the government would seek a legally binding treaty with Rwanda to address the court's concerns. He has introduced a new bill to overcome the block. The proposal has been fiercely criticized by the opposition as well as international human rights groups.

"Organized immigration crime and people smuggling are global challenges that require shared solutions and ambitions," said UK Home Secretary James Cleverly after the signing of the agreement in London.

"Our landmark working arrangement between the UK and Frontex is another crucial step in tackling illegal migration, securing our borders and stopping the boats," he said.

The UK government said this year the number of migrants arriving by boats to the UK from mainland Europe across the Channel dropped 36% last year to 29,437 from 2022's record of 45,775.

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