French President Emmanuel Macron visited Calais on Tuesday, January 16 and called on the UK to take in more migrants and spend more on border security.
Responding, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “I am baffled by President Macron’s comments. What does ‘more’ mean exactly?
“We already have it on very good authority that the heartbeat monitors at the French border are not working. So why should the UK be asked to provide more funding when the equipment currently in place is not even being used? The bottom line is that the French authorities do not want migrants in Northern France.”
Following the closure of the migrant ‘Jungle’ in October 2016, the UK funded a four-metre high, 1 km-long ‘anti-migrant’ wall – the Great Wall of Calais – which cost British taxpayers around £2 million.
“The wall hasn’t stopped migrants attacking UK-bound hauliers, in fact it hasn’t even scratched the surface of the problem,” Richard Burnett continued. “What is needed is a proper migrant processing system. At the moment, the refusal of asylum just increases their determination to reach the UK by whatever means possible and regardless of the safety of themselves or others.
“We’re concerned that this crisis is being used as a political football and we urge the two governments to work together to achieve some lasting solutions to this long running problem.
“The French authorities are not doing enough to get a grip of the problem and UK-bound hauliers continue to run the gauntlet of violence and intimidation from people-traffickers and migrants. Of course, we are happy to play our part in resolving the situation, but the authorities on both sides of the Channel must do everything within their power to prevent UK-bound hauliers having to face another year of cross-Channel migrant misery.”