The European border and coast guard agency, Frontex has provided an aircraft for operations in the Channel and North Sea coastal region between the U.K. and mainland Europe in response to the increased migratory pressure in the area.
The Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri decided to deploy a plane to support French and Belgian authorities following a ministerial meeting in Calais on November 28. The aircraft has been provided by Denmark and its crew is highly experienced and has already been deployed to other Frontex operations, most recently in Spain. The aircraft is equipped with modern sensors and radars to support border control at land and sea. On board, there will be liaison officers from the relevant authorities to support the crew and facilitate quick and efficient decision-making.
“The evolution of the situation in the Channel is a matter of concern. Upon the request from Member States, Frontex deployed a plane in France to support them with aerial surveillance in just three days,” says Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri. “We are starting with one plane, but we stand ready to reinforce our support if needed,” he added.
The aim of the operation on the coastline is to prevent the rising number of sea crossings. Recently, this route has experienced a high number of illegal crossings, facilitated by criminal networks that put the lives of migrants in danger.