By Burak Bir
ANKARA (AA) – The UK, France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands on Thursday agreed to step up efforts to tackle illegal immigration across Europe.
During the meeting held in Brussels, British Home Secretary Suella Braverman and his European counterparts renewed discussions on how to address the global migration crisis.
The parties, also known as the Calais group, 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 participants stressed that irregular migration into Europe is a growing issue," said a joint statement issued following the meeting.
They expressed their concern regarding the growing number of people trying to cross the Channel with small boats, with the cynical support of organized crime groups.
Parties also highlighted the importance of cooperation to tackle not only the migration issue but also smugglers.
The statement underlined the ministers' readiness to provide refuge to those in need of protection and emphasized that "illegal and dangerous attempts to traffic or smuggle people across our borders in circumvention of border controls must be tackled with the utmost energy."