UK immigration control will gain full legal rights in the Eurostar terminal in Brussels to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the UK and claiming asylum.
For Eurostar travellers from Brussels to London, the UK border
control will soon take place at the beginning of their journey, as
the borders of the United Kingdom will be extended to the Eurostar
terminal in Brussels. This was the outcome of a deal struck by
Britain and Belgium on 15 April 2004, aimed at limiting the influx
of illegal asylum seekers into the UK.
As a result of the deal, UK immigration control will be set up
at the Bruxelles-Midi Eurostar terminal. British officers will be
given full powers to refuse entry to travellers boarding the train
from Brussels to London with false, stolen or inadequate travel
documents. This will prevent these from travelling to Britain and
then claim asylum.
"All of this adds up to a further reinforcement of the border
controls, the restrictions, the ability to pick up people who
shouldn't be coming across the border at all," said the UK's Home
It is the last development in an ever closer European
co-operation on asylum in which Member States grant access and
legal powers to foreign border control officials. Britain already
struck a similar deal with France in 2001, which has succeeded in
reducing the number of asylum applications at London's Waterloo
Station by 90 per cent. 9,000 people were thus stopped from
reaching the UK in 2003.
Mr Blunkett has also hinted that similar measures could be
extended to the Netherlands soon.