French President François Hollande has rejected other politicians' calls to reconsider a border deal preventing migrants from entering the United Kingdom via the Channel Tunnel despite Britain's vote to leave the EU.
Hollande said on Wednesday (29 June 2016) that Britain's Brexit vote should not change the France-UK deal by which Britain's border controls were moved to the northern shores of France, where migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia have massed in their thousands.
Under the 2003 Le Touquet treaty, British border guards are allowed to check for illegal immigrants stowing away on lorries, cars and trains before they head through the Channel Tunnel and on to ferries. This has led to many being stuck in huge migrant camps in Calais, such as the infamous 'Jungle' and Grande-Synthe in Dunkirk.
Following the Leave vote, Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart said France should consider changing the agreement, while former minister and newly elected president of the Calais region, Xavier Bertrand, rejected the idea that France should be responsible for stopping migrants from making illegal crossings to the UK.
Interior Minister: Calais border 'will remain closed'
However, the French President on Wednesday said a revision of the accord "made no sense".
"Calling into question the Touquet deal on the pretext that Britain has voted for Brexit and will have to start negotiations to leave the Union doesn't make sense," Hollande said after a summit in Brussels.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed there would be no changes to the accord as he met with Calais officials in Paris on Wednesday. "The border at Calais is closed and will remain so," he said.
These comments are a far cry from earlier statements by Finance Minister Macron, who in March had warned the UK that Brexit would have consequences on immigration policy. At the time, he had forewarned that "the day that French-British relations are broken, the immigrants will be out of Calais."