UK, EU agree to ‘better cooperation’ on immigration, says Downing Street


Downing Street News Agency announced that Prime Minister Rishi Snak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have agreed to “strengthen cooperation” between UK and EU institutions on immigration.

In bilateral talks at the Council of Europe meeting in Iceland on Tuesday, the two leaders “underlined that the UK and the EU have common interests in tackling cross-border crime and human trafficking. I did,” the 10th Spokesperson said.

“They have agreed to strengthen cooperation between the EU and the UK on immigration through the development of a new working agreement between UK institutions and the EU border force, Frontex.”

“The UK and EU teams will discuss the details and operations of this new working arrangement in due course,” the spokesperson said, adding that the two countries will address “important operational and strategic issues, including the situation in the Straits.” He added that it would be possible to work together.

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British Prime Minister Rishi Snak prepares to speak at the opening ceremony of the Council of Europe Summit on May 16, 2023 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Alastair Grant – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The two-day meeting in Reykjavík focused primarily on how to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine, with European leaders seeking to ensure that Ukrainian citizens were compensated for the losses they suffered as a result of the invasion. He is expected to sign a damages register. war.

But Mr. Sunak has tried to make illegal immigration a mainstay of the summit’s agenda, warning leaders that the international system to crack down on human trafficking is “not working.”

cross-border cooperation

In his remarks at the summit’s opening session, the prime minister urged European leaders to “be prepared to confront the threats to society before they become too great to deal with”, including illegal immigration.

“The moral rationale for action is clear,” Sunak said.

“Illegal immigration exploits the most vulnerable. It risks excluding genuine asylum-seekers. increase.

“That is why many of us are already acting at the national level, and we need to work together across borders and jurisdictions to do more to combat illegal immigration and stop shipping.”

He said the Council of Europe was already playing an “important role” but urged leaders to “consider how we can go further”.

channel crisis

According to Home Office figures, 45,755 illegal immigrants arrived in the UK across the English Channel by small boat in 2022.

Nearly 7,000 illegal immigrants have crossed the English Channel into the UK this year already.

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An inflatable vessel carrying migrants crosses the English Channel channel off Dover, England, August 4, 2022. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Sunak has made “stopping the ship” one of his five priorities and said he would “fulfill” that promise.

The government has introduced the Illegal Immigration Bill, which aims to ban those who have entered the UK illegally from applying for asylum.

If this becomes law, illegal immigrants will be swiftly transferred from the UK to their home country or a safe third country like Rwanda and barred from re-entering the country.

However, previous attempts by the UK to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda have been blocked by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), an international tribunal of the Council of Europe based in Strasbourg.

In Reykjavik, Sunak met with European Commission on Human Rights President Siofra O’Leary over a review of the operation of Article 39, which blocked Britain’s first deportation flight to Rwanda last year.

Human trafficking was also brought up in bilateral talks between the prime minister and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who agreed to “tack the scourge” by working together “bilaterally and through fora such as the European Political Community.” bottom.

PA Media contributed to this report.