Recently my fellow MEP Diane James debated on Radio Kent the government’s failure to find a solution with the French to the Calais blockade fiasco with former Conservative immigration minister, Damien Green (Listen Here). He boldly stated that if The British people exercised their democratic right to leave this wholly undemocratic customs union that somehow this would affect our negotiated UK border in Calais. In short, Green claimed the border would have to be moved back to Dover. Well Damian, I did some research and actually, you, like most other Europhiles have falsified the truth.
In fact, we have a bilateral agreement with France that establishes UK border checkpoints in the point of Calais which wouldn’t be affected if the UK left the EU. A bi-lateral agreement is a contract negotiated and agreed upon between two sovereign nation states in this case the United Kingdom and the French Republic. Evidence of this agreement can be seen here.
The purpose of this draft Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Juxtaposed Controls) Order is to give effect to the treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the French Republic concerning the implementation of frontier controls at sea ports of both countries on the Channel and North Sea. The treaty was signed at Le Touquet.
The treaty is one element of an overall strategy agreed with the French Government to assist in reducing cross-channel illegal immigration, and to tackle the wider problems of illegal immigration flows across Europe. The draft order is made in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 141 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. That section enables the Secretary of State, by order, to give effect to an international agreement which concerns immigration control at an EEA port. The ports which are to be designated initially for that purpose are Dover, Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne.
Establishing juxtaposed immigration controls at those ports will mean that French officers will exercise immigration control at Dover, and that UK immigration officers will exercise immigration control in Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne. The draft order provides the necessary powers for the French and UK officers in question to operate in the territory of the other.
At present the UK already operates juxtaposed frontier controls at four locations in France - the Eurotunnel site at Coquelles, and the three main Eurostar stations, Paris Gare du Nord, Lille Europe and Calais Frethun. The French authorities operate reciprocal controls at Cheriton and Waterloo and will soon commence operations at Ashford International. The controls are provided for under the Channel Tunnel Act 1987 and associated subordinate legislation.
If the French reneging on a bi-lateral agreement with an independent Britain is unlikely under international law, then making Calais' operations more inefficient by moving the border back to the UK side when the French Port has just issued a Euro700 million development bond to expand operations would be commercial suicide. (More here) As UKIP has said on several occasions France is not the only European gateway for Britain and would lose out economically if, for some inexplicable reason, they used a British exit from the EU to take petty retribution in the way described by Damian Green.
In short, Mr Green's petty arguments do not hold water.