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    Migrants pass by a road sign as they leave the northern area of the camp called the Jungle in Calais, France, September 7, 2016

    Le Touquet: Calls for Border Checks on UK Soil Amid Calais 'Jungle' Demolition

    © REUTERS / Charles Platiau
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    Amid the first evacuations of people from Calais' Jungle migrant camp, there are increasing calls in France for a renegotiation of the Le Touquet accord, which could see border checks take place on the British side of the Channel, with fears of a Jungle-style camp on the English coast in Kent.

    With the French government carrying out plans to dismantle the migrant camp, the debate over the Le Touquet deal has gained increased prominence recently, particularly in light of the UK's decision to leave the EU, and with France's presidential election to be held next year.

    Alain Juppe, the center-right Republican party frontrunner and current favorite to become the next French president, said he was in favor of a complete renegotiation of Le Touquet.

    ​"We can't tolerate what is going on in Calais, the image is disastrous for our country and there are also extremely serious economic and security consequences for the people of Calais," Juppe told the Guardian.

    "So the first thing is to denounce the Le Touquet accord. We cannot accept making the selection on French territory of people that Britain does or doesn't want. It's up to Britain to do that job," he said.

    ​Xavier Bertrand, the leader of the Hauts-de-France region that includes Calais, shared Juppe's message, saying that the bilateral agreement needed to be "denounced" following the UK's Brexit vote.

    "The British people have chosen to take back their freedom, they must take back their borders," he told the Telegraph.

    ​Even former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who signed up to Le Touquet in 2003, has suggested migrants in the camp should be processed in Britain.

    "Those who are here in Calais and who want to cross to England should be processed in England by the English," he said.

    Headaches Ahead for Britain, France

    The increasingly strong rhetoric surrounding the situation in Calais and the Le Touquet agreement even forced French President Francois Hollande to take a harder line on the issue, warning in September that the UK could not avoid its "responsibilities in France" and that is must "play a part" in resolving the situation.

    And while UK and French government representatives confirmed in August that they would continue with the treaty, the unpopularity of French President Francois Hollande and the increase in support for the Republicans has led many to suggest that Le Touquet could be torn up or renegotiated after next year's French presidential election.

    ​Under the deal, British immigration controls and border check are allowed to take place on French soil, however any changes could see these controls be undertaken in Kent, on the British side of the channel.

    There are fears that such a development would lead to similar Jungle-style refugee camps along the British coast, causing headaches for the UK government, which has pledged to reduce immigration from the EU as part of Brexit negotiations.

    ​While the British government rejects any change to Le Touquet, it has been suggested that France could use the issue as leverage to during Brexit negotiations, which could see London give up concessions in order to secure a favorable trade deal with the EU.


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    border controls, border checks, Brexit, negotiations, immigration, Le Touquet, Alain Juppe, Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, Theresa May, Kent, Calais, Europe, Britain, France
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