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At least 27 drown in English Channel’s deadliest migrant boat tragedy

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CALAIS, France (AFP) — Britain and France were on Thursday looking at new measures to limit migration across the Channel and break people-smuggling networks after at least 27 migrants trying to reach England drowned off the northern French coast.

The disaster is the deadliest accident since the Channel became a hub for migrants from the Africa, the Middle East and Asia who have been increasingly using small boats to reach England from France since 2018.

President Emmanuel Macron vowed France would not allow the Channel to become a “cemetery” and also spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree on stepping up efforts to thwart the traffickers blamed for the surge in crossings.

“It is Europe’s deepest values — humanism, respect for the dignity of each person — that are in mourning,” Macron said.

Prime Minister Jean Castex will hold a crisis meeting on Thursday with ministers to discuss new measures, his office said.

Seventeen men, seven women and three minors died when the inflatable boat lost air and took on water off the northern port of Calais on Wednesday, according to public prosecutors in Lille. A manslaughter probe has been opened.

The disaster also poses a new challenge to cooperation between France and Britain after Brexit. Tensions had already been growing over the record numbers of people crossing, adding to a litany of problems that also include fishing........

© The Times of Israel

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