Illegal migrants arriving in the U.K. from mainland Europe should be handed a bottle of water and escorted back to France, former Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has claimed.
Speaking to conservative broadcaster Nigel Farage on Thursday, the former leader of the Nordic island nation said the solution to the ongoing migrant crisis, “looking at it from the outside, is simple.”
“When a boat comes with illegal migrants, take them on land, give each of them a bottle of water, and bring them back to France,” he said.
The move, he believes, would drastically reduce the pull factor currently in place for migrants seeking to travel across Europe to reach Britain.
'Give them a bottle of water and send them back to France'— GB News (@GBNEWS) November 2, 2023
Former Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, says he knows how to solve the UK's migrant crisis.@Nigel_Farage pic.twitter.com/TaO7ETgR33
“This in the long run should suit France as well, because I don’t think they want to be the middle ground for this huge influx of people to the U.K.,” he added.
Gunnlaugsson, who led Iceland from May 2013 until April 2016, said that politicians often make things “so complicated for themselves” and insisted that “the best solutions are often the simplest ones.”
The Icelandic politician urged the U.K.’s Conservative government to abandon its costly plans to send migrants to the African nation of Rwanda for processing.
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U.K. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick offered his remarks ahead of the Conservative government’s Illegal Migration Bill going back to parliament
“Don’t go ahead with Rwanda, just do this,” he told Farage.
Such a solution could be thwarted by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has always insisted that any agreement on migrant returns must be negotiated at an EU level.
Despite numerous pledges from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “stop the boats,” England’s southern coast has experienced a considerable influx of undocumented migrants throughout the year.
According to the Home Office, 26,657 people had made the perilous journey across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes to Britain up to the end of October.