UK starts talks with Holland, Belgium on migrant problem
The British government has opened talks with the Netherlands and Belgium to head off potential new migrant routes via ports such as the Hook of Holland, the justice ministry confirmed to the AD on Friday.
The British are assessing other northern ports such as Zeebrugge in Belgium and the Hook of Holland amid fears smugglers could shift their efforts elsewhere now security has been strengthened at Calais.
However, the number of migrants trying to travel to the UK from the Hook of Holland has virtually dried up since police stepped up checks at the beginning of the summer, the NRC reports.
Belgian ports have also reported no increase in the number of migrants arriving at their Channel ports.
On Thursday, Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, told the Guardian that closing off one route would lead to a ‘domino effect’, with the problem moving elsewhere.
‘There is already evidence of more illegal activity around Zeebrugge and the Hook of Holland,’ he said. ‘We need agreements with countries across the north coast to stop this situation developing before we see Calais-like crises spring up at ports across the continent.’
The British immigration minister James Brokenshire will visit the Netherlands in the near future for further talks, the justice ministry said.
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