Why don't we let migrants travel freely to the UK?

The problem posed by undocumented migrants eager to get to the UK via Belgium has led some to wonder why Belgium doesn't just let these people travel to the UK unhindered. VRT quizzed the view of UGent professor Hendrik Vos and Euro MP Sander Loones (Flemish nationalist).

Hendrik Vos: "Belgium is bound by European agreements and treaties that oblige us to check these people’s identity. There are bilateral accords between Britain and France that Belgium later joined. As a result of the Le Touquet agreement of 2003 British immigration officials may carry out ID checks on this side of the English Channel. Belgian immigration officials may carry out checks in the UK. The arrangement was made to stem the flow of migrants attempting to get onto lorries and ferries. The UK provides a financial contribution under this agreement.

Will the agreement survive Brexit?

Sander Loones: "The accords are a subject of discussion. It's quite possible that the British authorities will in future have to carry out the checks in Britain. I remain in favour of checks on the European mainland. In this way the North Sea isn't allowed to become like the Mediterranean where no checks are carried out in the country of departure. There the situation leads to thousands of fatalities.”

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