• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

France to take in 24,000 refugees over two years

The Local/AFP · 7 Sep 2015, 12:05

Published: 07 Sep 2015 12:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Sep 2015 12:05 GMT+02:00

France will open its doors to 24,000 refugees over the next two years, the country's president announced on Monday.

That’s the number the European Commission has asked France to accept under an urgent new plan aimed at easing the growing refugee crisis around Europe.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, President François Hollande said that France is "willing to play its part".

Hollande said it was a "fundamental principle" of France to accept asylum seekers.

"It's the duty for France. The right of asylum is an integral part of our body and soul. Our history demands this responsibility," he added.

"The French are a great people forged over generations of people who sometimes have come from far away," said Hollande.

The new plan put together by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker will be presented in Strasbourg on Wednesday and is aimed at seeing 120,000 refugees relocated around Europe over the next two years.

Under Juncker's plane Germany will be asked to take in 31, 000 refugees over the same period and Spain will be asked to take in 15,000 (see below).

"We cannot leave Germany alone to take on this responsibility," Hollande said. 

The president stressed that Europe's open borders scheme, known as Schengen, would collapse without united EU efforts to relocate migrants and refugees.

'Schengen will end unless united EU effort'

"If there is not a united policy, this mechanism will not work, it will collapse, and it will... undoubtedly be the end of Schengen, the return of national borders," he told the press conference in Paris.

Hollande's willingness to accept 24,000 refugees will put more pressure on the UK's David Cameron, who is set to give more details later on Monday on how many extra Syrian refugees Britain will accept. 

"The issue of refugees and displaced people is first and foremost an issue that affects southern countries... It affects Africa, the Middle East but also other continents including Asia," the president said at his bi-annual press conference.

Story continues below…

"We will propose to host an international conference on refugees in Paris."

France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will host a meeting of mayors from across France on Saturday to discuss the logistics and possibilities of relocating refugees.

Last week Hollande and Germany's Angela Merkel called for binding quotas to be imposed on EU nations regarding the numbers of refugees they should take in.

The French presidency announced the two European powerhouses would send joint proposals to Brussels "for organising the welcome of refugees and their fair distribution in Europe" and for "reinforcing the European asylum system."
   
With the large number of refugees and migrants flooding into Europe and moving through the continent, it warned that "dramas are being followed by tragedies."
   
"Thousands of victims have died since the start of the year. The European Union must act in a decisive manner in line with its values," the French presidency said.

 

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris luxury hotel told to pay up after guest molests cleaner

A cleaner who was molested at a Paris luxury hotel by a Qatari guest has reportedly been awarded €57,000.

Frenchman leading Brexit negotiations starts new job
Photo: AFP

Frenchman Michel Barnier officially starts work as the European Commission's Brexit negotiator on Saturday in an appointment that British media called a "declaration of war".

VIDEO: Frenchman goes on iPhone-smashing rampage
Photo: YouTube Screenshot

Meet France's angriest Apple customer.

Nuit Blanche: Get set for an all-night party in Paris
Photo: La Nuit Blanche

Will YOU be heading down to the Seine on Saturday?

France told there's no more money for TGVs
High speed TGV trains parked in Lille. Photo: AFP

A report from the French senate has recommended that three planned high speed rail networks be scrapped.

Frenchman surfs again after shark bites off his leg
All photos: AFP

Meet the amputee Frenchman who is surfing again he was attacked by a shark.

Paris motorists to fund city's public transport system
Photo: AFP

Motorists in the Ile-de-France region will be hit by a tax rise in order to finance the city's trains and buses.

More French women becoming mothers after 40
French mums are getting older. File photo: Pexels

French mums are getting older, but the overall birthrate has fallen.

Paris police bust high-rolling gang of pram thieves
Photo: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

A gang of thieves has been caught after they pinched an estimated €100,000 worth of prams.

French banned from 'Mona Lisa smile' on photo IDs
You can forget a smile like this on your passport photo.

The French are going to have to remain grumpy-looking, at least on their passport photos.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
It's official: France finally gets its new map
National
VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Society
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Is life on a French café terrace really this bad?
Society
Only in France: 'Drive slowly - grape juice on the roads'
Society
Saudi princess 'told guard to kill Paris decorator'
Education
Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Education
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
2,736
jobs available