The decision to build a wall in Calais is the latest in a long line of wrong moves made in the ongoing scandal of the British and French authorities’ handling of the plight of refugees in Northern France.
The chaotic situation in Calais is a symptom of a problem; neither dismantling the camps and removing the last scraps of dignity and security from their residents nor building a wall will solve that problem. Only through cross-border political cooperation can we hope to alleviate this global humanitarian crisis.
We need to realise that those seeking refuge in the UK are not desperate to come here; they are simply desperate. Successive governments have utterly failed to fulfil their responsibilities towards the vulnerable people who find themselves in the camps - especially unaccompanied children. Many of those in Calais have a legal right to live in the UK. The slow speed at which their asylum claims are being dealt is inexcusable.
History will not judge our nations kindly if French and British governments refuse to work together constructively on this issue. Attacking the symptoms will never solve the problem.
As a symbol, the Trumpian wall is an emblem of the ongoing campaign by far-right groups to dehumanise refugees. As a security solution, it’s a hugely expensive sticking plaster that will force more refugees into the hands of criminal people smugglers and see desperate people take even greater risks.
To borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan, I say: Mrs May, tear down this wall! Or, better yet; don’t construct the monstrosity in the first place.
Green Party MEP for the South East, European Parliament, ASP-4F136, Rue Wiertz, B-1047, Brussels, Belgium
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