The following letter was sent to the Frans Timmermans, 1st Vice-President of the European Commission over the situation of striking French workers in Calais and the migrant issue.
I write to you in light of coverage in the media and complaints from my South East England constituents regarding the unsatisfactory state of affairs in Northern French ports.
The sustained industrial action taken by French trade unions has repeatedly interrupted cross-border traffic between the UK and France. This has caused serious disruption to freight flows as well as affecting the lawful free movement of persons as described by EU treaties.
Cross-border trade is being held hostage by the French unions in order to assert greater pressure on the French government. I urge you to ensure that the French authorities apply all measures at their disposal in order to enable unrestricted functioning of the vital cross border links.
My major concern is that this industrial action is taking place in a region which is already a “hotspot” for illegal migrant activity. My constituents complain that they have been subject to menacing and threatening behaviour by desperate migrants when entering the ports (not only Calais but also Dunkerque). The behaviour is targeted at ordinary innocent persons travelling in their cars (often with children and young family members) it is particularly intimidating given that no police authorities can be seen in the area.
I appreciate that the migration issues is a long-term problem and cannot be resolved in the short term. I further appreciate and support the comments you made to the European Parliament last week. I wish to ensure that the Commission is aware of the full extent of this problem and I call on the Commission to put pressure on French authorities to secure the lawful free movement of goods and people between France and the UK.