U.K. Should Take Over Its Own Border, Bertrand Says

  • Nord region's Bertrand says Touquet Accord should be revised
  • Bertrand says France shouldn't have to manage U.K. border

The leader of the French region that borders the English Channel said the accord covering ferry crossings to Britain should be ripped up if the British government doesn’t provide more help to control migrants seeking to reach English shores.

Several thousand migrants are camped out in Calais, seeking to cross illegally to British ports, one of several flash points across Europe where nations either have or are threatening to intensify border controls.

“They have to get moving,” Xavier Bertrand, who was elected head of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region in December, said on France Info radio. “If not we have to revise the Touquet agreement. We manage the English border at Calais, we can just hand it over to them.”

Bertrand is meeting Wednesday with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart to discuss the situation.

The Touquet accord was reached in 2003 and reinforced controls in French ports. This is not the first time Bertrand has criticized the accords, charging that the French are essentially managing Britain’s border. Bertrand has no direct power over the accords, which were signed between the French and British governments.

Unlike other migrant flash points on borders across Europe, Britain is not a member of the Schengen passport-free zone, meaning that border controls never went away.