EU rejects new deal that would allow Britain to send small boats migrants back to France, docs reveal | The Sun

BRUSSELS has rejected Britain's attempts to strike a returns deal for small boat migrants, new documents show.

An EU official told one of the UK's top security advisors this year that a deal on sending illegal migrants back to the block was off the cards for now.

Rishi Sunak is desperate to strike a returns agreement as it would likely serve as a major deterrent to channel crossings.

It's also a policy Sir Keir Starmer has promised if Labour wins the next election.

The PM has staked his premiership on a promise to stop the boats before Brits next take to the polls.

But with summer's warmer weather and calmer waters, dinghy crossings are ramping up.


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A returns agreement would require Britain to share the EU's burden of resettling hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants arriving in the likes of Greece and Italy.

But for now Brussels officials are steering away from any such deal.

It comes as a small boat sank in the Channel in the early hours of Saturday, killing six people.

The overcrowded dinghy was carrying 65 people.

Five were taken to a hospital in Kent, three suffered from hypothermia, while a further two are feared missing.

More than 100,000 illegal migrants have now arrived on small boats – equivalent to a town the size of Rochdale.

The milestone figure, revealed by the Home Office last week, sparked anger from Tory MPs and ignited fresh calls for Rishi Sunak to quit the European Court of Human Rights.

Around 750 people crossed the Channel today in 11 small boats to take the total since 2018 into six figures.

A staggering 60,000 illegal migrants hit British shores in the past 18 months alone despite repeated promises to stop the boats.

Tory deputy chair Lee Anderson exploded over the influx and called for “drastic measures” to grip the problem.

He said: “I’m very angry about the number. Again, very angry, as you know, every single day when I see these illegal migrants and let’s be clear on what they are.

“They're illegal migrants. They're not genuine asylum seekers.”

A UK government spokesperson said: “We remain open to working with the EU to take forward negotiations on a UK-EU returns deal, as part of our international efforts to tackle illegal migration and to crack down on these exploitative gangs.

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“We are in regular conversations with our European counterparts on a range of issues relating to migration and asylum. 

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“We agreed with members of the Calais Group of Northern European nations to work towards an EU-UK cooperation agreement on migration in a joint statement at the group’s 8 December 2022 meeting.”

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