Sat, 22 Jan 2022

PARIS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- A plane of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has landed in Lille, northern France, to be deployed above the English Channel to monitor possible migrant crossings, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on social media on Thursday.

Darmanin announced that "this European plane will help the French, Dutch and Belgian police day and night."

Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri said in a statement that the agency would start with one plane, "but we stand ready to reinforce our support if needed."

According to Frontex, the plane has been provided by Denmark and has already been deployed, most recently in Spain.

On Monday, Darmanin said that Paris would double the police and gendarmerie forces dealing with illegal immigration and would create regional offices tasked with dismantling the networks of smugglers.

On Sunday, France hosted an emergency meeting of European migration officials in the port city of Calais. The United Kingdom (UK) was not invited because French President Emmanuel Macron had accused UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of not taking the migrant crisis "seriously."

One solution agreed at the meeting was to fight the illegal crossings in the English Channel with aerial surveillance.

On Nov. 24, at least 27 migrants died in the English Channel when their boat foundered off Calais.

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