Mark Watts, LP Brussels Director and former 2-term MEP for Kent East was invited by ITV to comment on the growing humanitarian crisis in the English Channel.
More than 4,000 refugees have now reached the UK in 2020, crossing the Channel in small dangerous boats.
The only way to stop this crisis is to juxtapose the immigration controls for refugees, as we have done for regular immigration. In other words, let those that wish to claim asylum in the UK do so in France, at a stroke ending this terrible traffic in vulnerable human beings, many of whom are unaccompanied children, who are being ruthlessly exploited by criminal gangs.
Stepping up patrols alone will not help because the current system actually encourages asylum seekers to risk everything to cross the Channel to claim asylum in the UK.
It was not until the world witnessed the heart-breaking pictures of 3-year old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body being retrieved from a Turkish beach did we begin to take the Syrian refugee crisis more seriously, so let us not wait until the body of another child, this time washed up on a Kent beach, forces us to act.
Mark Watts is Director of LP Brussels, a former two-term Member of the European Parliament. He has been advising organisations and businesses on EU transport, energy and environment policy for over fifteen years. He writes in a personal capacity.