Emmanuel Macron’s likely victory to become the next President of France could lead to a new migrant crisis in Calais after he promised to rip up border controls between France and the UK.
The independent candidate said the existing agreement should be renegotiated, potentially reawakening a new wave of illegal immigration to Britain.
The threat will cause significant concerns that the presidential frontrunner, who has branded Brexit a ‘crime’ could make the UK bear the brunt of another migration crisis.
But French officials have long blamed the deal for fuelling huge populations at the notorious Jungle camp in Calais, where thousands of migrants travelled in the hope of reaching Britain.
Mr Macron had previously promised to keep the agreement in place, and his u-turn sparked concern in Downing Street.
He said: ‘If there was a simple answer [to Calais’ migration crisis], it would have been found. I want to put the Touquet treaty back on the table and to renegotiate the agreement.’
His call for a fresh deal will be seen as a clear attempt to win support from his presidential rival Marine Le Pen, who has promised to close France’s borders.
Despite enjoying a sizeable lead in the polls, a recent slump has left Mr Macron cautious of being overtaken by the National Front leader before the second election round on Sunday.
A wave of jihadist attacks in recent years has prompted huge public concern about the passport-free Schengen zone that has allowed attackers to move between European countries.
While Mr Macron is a key supporter of the EU and has called for even closer integration with Brussels, he is aware that a soft stance on immigration could hand an advantage to his far-right rival.