Volume XXXVIII – Number 1

John de Bruyn Kops 

Abstract: Although Britain and France have not always been friendly, in 1986, the two countries agreed to cooperate on the Chunnel Project. The project aimed to build a tunnel under the English Channel connecting the British Islands to continental Europe through France. Upon completion of the Chunnel, British and French leaders were very enthusiastic. However, soon thereafter, it became clear that the Channel Tunnel trains were transporting, among other things, illegal immigrants. Many illegal immigrants came to Britain through the Chunnel to gain political asylum because British asylum laws were more inviting than French laws. While some people escaped real threats, others were taking advantage of the British asylum policy. As the two countries tried to solve the issue of illegal immigration, the British Home Secretary, David Blunkett, put pressure on his French counterpart, Daniel Vaillant, to improve immigration control. The two leaders cooperated and committed themselves to combating human trafficking and the abuse of asylum procedures. Finally, in 2002, both countries agreed to tighten security around the Chunnel’s terminals, arrest human traffickers, and establish clear asylum policies. The theory of social constructivism explains the cooperation between Britain and France because both countries improved their relationship by communicating to solve the issue of illegal immigration. Particularly through communication between the countries’ leaders, the countries interacted and strengthened their cooperative relationship.

Key Words: Britain, France, Social Constructivism, the Channel Tunnel – Chunnel, illegal immigration

Click here for full article

Return to issue

Previous Article / Next Article