Press releases > Operation 'Stuck'
The "Blockade - What is the Commission doing about it? - Sir Roger Gale MP - 29th July 2015

North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has waded back into the row surrounding "Operation Stuck" and the French authorities.

Speaking in his (Kent coastal) constituency this (Tuesday) evening Sir Roger said:

"Much has been made of the need for "the Government" to take action and much has been made, by the French, of the need for the UK to take action to alleviate the problem of several thousands of illegal migrants clustering at Calais and preventing the `free movement of people` lawfully between two Member States of the European Union.

So what is the European Commission doing about this? Setting aside the inability or unwillingness of M. Hollande`s failing administration to deal with the blockade, by striking French seafarers, of the sea port of Calais, the immigration is a mainland-European problem and one that is emphatically not the responsibility of the United Kingdom or the British taxpayer.

We have maintained our border checks and controls, The Schengen Countries, which now stretch not just from the Mediterranean to the North Sea but embrace France`s "territoires outre mers" such as the island of Martinique, have abolished all internal borders. The net result of this is that once a person, legally or illegally, is inside the European Union there is literally no control until they reach Calais.

When even a communitaire French government put this to the test by seeking to impose border controls between France and Italy the Commission over ruled France.

It is time that the Commission stepped up to the plate and indicated what, precisely, they intend to do to ensure that European road hauliers and domestic travellers can enjoy their much-vaunted "freedom of movement" lawfully while taking measures to ensure that illegal immigrants are controlled outside and within the borders over which they claim jurisdiction.

The answer, of course, is to scrap Schengen and to re-introduce internal EU border controls. The question is "is there anyone within the Commission with the balls not only to suggest this but to see it through"?"

(Sir Roger Gale is a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe)

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