POLITICS

UK Must Tell Migrants It's 'No Eldorado,' Says French Ambassador

06/08/2015 16:10 BST | Updated 06/08/2015 16:59 BST
Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive
French Ambassador to London Sylvie Agnes-Bermann views tributes to the victims of the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, outside the French Embassy in Knightsbridge, London.

The French Ambassador to the UK has warned migrants must be convinced that Britain is no "Eldorado".

The comments echo those made last week by home secretary Theresa May who said British "streets are not paved with gold", as the government struggles to grapple with the number of migrants attempting to travel through the Channel Tunnel from Calais.

Appearing on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday, Sylvie Bermann, was pressed on whether France's attempts to address the crisis at the border were not working.

Bermann stressed that it was important to understand the crisis was not constrained to Calais. She claimed that of the 230,000 migrants that had entered the Schengen zone (the area within the EU where there is no passport control), only a tiny proportion of these had arrived in Calais.

But she said the UK needed to do more to deter migrants. "These people to come to the UK because they think thats a kind of Eldorado. I think measures announced by British authorities to fight against illegal immigration are very good. And we need to repatriate those who are not real asylum seekers," she said.

Also appearing on the programme, Mark Reckless, Ukip's head of policy and former MP, said British foreign policy was party to blame for the migrant crisis, especially the decapitation of the Libyan government.

"The answer to that is that Libya has become ungovernable space, after this country, with France, with support from the US, decided to attack it and remove the previous regime," he said.

"Since then it has become complete chaos...and people in very large numbers are using Libya to cross the mediterranean and come to Europe, some of whom are asylum seekers...but many, many of whom are economic migrants who [now] find it far, far easier to come into the EU".

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