British Prime Minister David Cameron warned of the threat posed by “a swarm of people” who were “coming across the Mediterranean … wanting to come to Britain”. His foreign secretary Philip Hammond upped the ante. The chaos at the Channel tunnel in Calais, he declared, was caused by “marauding migrants who posed an existential threat.”
In reality the French port of Calais is a sideshow, home to a few thousand migrants.
Europe’s real refugee crisis is in the Mediterranean. More than 180,000 have reached Italy and Greece by sea alone this year. The impact on Greece, already wracked with crisis, is at tipping point.
[Despite the media circus] Britain is not a main destinations for either refugees or illegal migrants. Last year 25,870 sought asylum in the UK and only 10,050 were accepted. By contrast, Sweden accepted three times as many and Germany had more than 200,000 asylum and new asylum applicants.
[But if you are talking refugees, in sheer numbers,] nothing in Europe matches the millions who have been driven to seek refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Pakistan or Jordan. Set against such a global drama, Calais is little more than deathly theatre.