09:43 GMT08 March 2021
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    CALAIS (Sputnik) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday called for a special approach to be created by Paris and London to settle the issue of unaccompanied child refugees in France’s northern Calais region on the border with the United Kingdom.

    Earlier in the day, Macron paid a visit to Calais, which has been for years home to hundreds of migrants trying to cross the border to the United Kingdom. Macron's visit to Calais comes two days before his meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May. During the upcoming talks, Macron is expected to discuss the issue of illegal migration on the French-UK border.

    READ MORE: Former Residents of Dismantled Refugee Calais Camp Return to Northern France

    "Today, non-accompanied minors are a very special concern of this region … For the region of Pas-de-Calais, in particular, we need to put in place a special approach, which will be implemented in the upcoming weeks. And we also wish a very specific answer on behalf of our UK friends regarding this matter," Macron said, addressing the police forces working in Calais.

    Macron also stressed the importance of cooperation with the United Kingdom in order to improve the situation in the region.

    "It was essential for me to face the reality you are living in for many months and years to be able to draw all the conclusions from this, and address in 48 hours with Theresa May many elements that we need to improve in our common management — better treat the issue of isolated minors, strengthen police cooperation in Calais," Macron said.

    The French president also noted that assistance to the states of origin and transit of refugees and asylum seekers would also be on the agenda of his talks with May.

    France has repeatedly called on the United Kingdom to engage more actively in tackling the issue of migrants in Calais, which had hosted the infamous refugee "jungle" until its demolition in 2016. Particularly, Paris said that London should resettle more unaccompanied child refugees who want to reunite with their families in the United Kingdom.

    Over the past years, several minors have died after attempting to illegally cross the English Channel from Calais to the United Kingdom due to months-long delays in the legal family reunification procedure. The situation prompted concerns of human rights groups in both the United Kingdom and France.


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