European co-operation to tackle illegal immigration and people smuggling gangs has been agreed by the Calais Group.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has met with counterparts from France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands in a desperate attempt to stem the flow of migrants crossing Europe.
The group talked about how to address the global migration crisis in Brussels.
The group has published a joint communique outlining commitments made at the meeting.
The UK will agree a working arrangement with Frontex, Europe’s external border agency, to bolster its upstream efforts to contain illegal migration, as other countries also committed to bolster their support.
Working together at Europe’s land and sea borders will enable countries to improve registration of irregular migrants and ensure rapid asylum and returns procedures, so that illegal migration flows are reduced at source.
Frontex has a particular focus on tackling migration from western Balkans countries.
Ministers also agreed to enhance cooperation of the Joint Intelligence Cell situated in Calais, to allow operational teams to better identify and respond to criminal networks.
The cell has dismantled 59 organised crime groups involved in illegal crossings since it was set up in July 2020.
Today’s meeting also saw ministers agree to deeper co-operation with third countries to work on shared migration challenges and ensure people do not undertake perilous journeys in the first place.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Countries across Europe must work closely together to tackle illegal migration and crack down on the people smugglers before these issues reach our borders.
“The Calais Group have held constructive discussions today on bringing solutions that will benefit all our countries and to ensure the evil criminals who profit in human misery are targeted and brought swiftly to justice. I look forward to our ongoing cooperation.”