It was hard not to laugh, coldly, at the statement from western members of the UN Security Council that condemned Belarus for engineering the migrant crisis on its border with Poland.
Following Thursday’s emergency UN Security Council meeting, western members published a joint statement, accusing Belarus of putting migrants’ lives in danger ‘for political purposes’.
That’s true, of course, but to hear such words from France. Quelle hypocrisie!
There are far fewer migrants camping out in cardboard cities in Paris this year. Why? Because these camps have been broken up and the migrants – overwhelmingly young men from Africa and the Middle East – have headed north to Calais. Once there it’s only a short voyage across the Channel to England, a voyage that 24,000 have made this year, nearly treble the number that succeeded in making the crossing in 2020.
‘They appear to have ceded sovereign territory to criminal people smugglers,’ a Whitehall source was quoted as saying of France’s incapacity to halt those crossing. ‘This abject failure will be raised in the strongest possible terms with Gerald Darmanin and the French government.’ Perhaps Boris Johnson should think of sending British soldiers to Calais as well as to the Polish border.
British protestations will do little good. Emmanuel Macron has started campaigning for next April’s presidential election and his biggest challengers come from the right: Marine Le Pen of the National Rally, the right-wing commentator Eric Zemmour and the centre-right Republicans who, while they have yet to select a candidate, have made immigration a central plank of their manifesto.
Furthermore, in the last 15 months there have been a number of Islamist attacks in France committed by men who entered the country illegally, including the murder of three worshippers by a Tunisian in a Nice church.