As protests were held in Calais on Monday calling for the Jungle migrant camp to be pulled down immediately, Sarkozy told La Voix du Nord newspaper he would push for a “closed centre for migrants” to be opened in the UK.
“Since most of these foreigners come to Calais to enter the UK, I want our British friends to now take charge of the processing of applications from those who want asylum, in a detention center, in Britain, and also take charge of the return of those who will be rejected,” Sarkozy said.
He believes British and French police and customs teams could conduct preliminary checks of migrants in France for their asylum application to be processed more quickly.
These teams would decide whether any application should be dealt with by the British and in these cases the migrants and refugees would be transported to the closed centre in the UK to have their application processed.
Sarkozy, a candidate to become the presidential nominee for the right wing Les Republicains party, already stirred up a hornet’s nest in the UK last week, when he vowed to tear up the Touquet accords that allow the UK to have its border in France.
And he reiterated his determination on Monday saying if he is elected president in May he would travel to London the next day to fight for a new agreement.
Sarkozy signed the Touquet agreements himself in 2003 when he was interior minister. The UK would be resistant to any change and the current French government has moved to ease fears by insisting the deal will remain.
But with Sarkozy’s rival for the presidential nominee Alain Jupée also in favour of scrapping the Touquet agreement, Britain may be forced into a renegotiation if, as expected, a right wing candidate wins the election in May.