Storbritannia vil ikke dele byrden dersom europeiske land åpner grensene for asylsøkere fra Nordafrika. I stedet oppfordrer den britiske regjeringen til samarbeid med andre europeiske land for å bringe de ankomne tilbake dit de kom fra.
Under et besøk for inspisere innvandringskontrollen i den franske havnebyen Calais, gjorde innenriksminister Theresa May det klart for Frankrike at landet ikke akter å akseptere tusenvis av innvandrere som flykter fra urolighetene i Nordafrika.
FNs høykommissær for flyktninger er for øyeblikket i Oslo for å be Norge og øvrige europeiske land om å dele byrden ved å ta en større del av den pågående flyktningestrømmen fra afrikanske land. De siste månedene har tilstrømmingen til Norge økt, og det er flest somaliere og eritreere som blir registrert ved Politiets utlendingsenhet (PU). May skal allerede ha informert om at Storbritannia ikke vil delta i noen slik «byrdedeling»:
In Calais to inspect joint immigration controls in the French port, Mrs May said: ‘I have made absolutely clear to my counterparts in Europe that we will not agree to so-called “burden sharing”.
Home Secretary Theresa May claims the number of people trying to enter the UK illegally from Calais has fallen dramatically
‘Britain will not be accepting large numbers of North African migrants. Instead we will be working with other European countries to get these people safely back to their home countries.
‘We have not, and will not, opt into any proposal that would weaken our borders,’ she added.
Tens of thousands of people have fled the political instability in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia in recent months. Their arrival in southern Europe has put huge strain on the continent’s system of open borders, leading to proposals that it be scaled back.
Frankrike måtte selv stenge grensene sine midlertidig da den italienske regjeringen utstedte 25.000 midlertidige reisedokumenter til tunisiske statsborgere.
May avviste også EU-kommisjonens planer om en felles asylpolitikk:
In a further worrying move, European Commission officials are also drawing up plans for a common asylum policy. But Mrs May said that Britain would not sign up to any agreement that would undermine border security.
Yesterday she met her French counterpart Claude Gueant, who warned illegal immigrants would try to exploit the influx of tourists for the Olympic Games to try to get into the UK.
He said: ‘Of the eight million spectators expected in London, 800,000 will come from Europe and a third of those will be cross-Channel passengers.
‘We must therefore put into place [plans] on the French side to safeguard border security whilst also ensuring the free-flow of traffic.’
Bare hittil i år har 3.500 illegal immigranter blitt funnet gjemt i lastebiler i et forsøk på å krysse den engelske kanal. Til sammenligning ble det totalt oppdaget nesten 10.000 på samme vis gjennom hele 2010.
When Mrs May was at the port, a stowaway was found hidden in the back of a lorry after a search by a sniffer dog.
The Iranian man, who was believed to have boarded the lorry in Belgium, was hidden among boxes of furniture.
Mrs May said action at the border had led to a fall of 70 per cent in the numbers trying to get into Britain.
‘We are committed to continuing to ensure the border is impenetrable,’ Mrs May added.
‘The fight against illegal immigration is one of this government’s highest priorities.’
Last week a report by the Home Affairs Select Committee said tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers had been allowed to stay in the UK in an immigration amnesty.
Chaos in the UK Border Agency more than five years ago meant around 450,000 cases were left lying in boxes, and these are only now being cleared.
Of the total, around 160,000 have been allowed to stay. Fewer than one in ten has been kicked out.
Labour’s home office spokesman Gerry Sutcliffe said yesterday: ‘Practical international co-operation is undoubtedly crucial for the effective policing of our borders.
‘But it will take more than a visit to Calais to get the fair enforcement of immigration controls right.’