SHARE
COPY LINK

IMMIGRATION

Paris police clear 1,500 migrants from makeshift camp

Police in Paris cleared out yet another makeshift migrant camp on Friday morning, with some 1,500 refugees including many women and children to be moved out to various locations in the suburbs.

Paris police clear 1,500 migrants from makeshift camp
Photo: AFP

The latest clear out began at around 7am on Friday morning near the Metro stations Stalingrad and Jaures in the 10th and 19th arrondissements of the French capital.

The site has seen regular unofficial camps spring up in recent months with migrants from Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan taking advantage of the shelter offered by the overhead Metro Line.

Most slept on mattresses or in tents handed out by local charitable associations.

France has received only a tiny proportion of the million-plus migrants who have crossed into Europe in the last 18 months, with many refugees seeing it mainly as a transit country to other destinations.

But authorities have struggled to accommodate them.

(AFP)

Police have regularly carried out operations to move the migrants out – the previous one taking place just a month ago – and the latest saw some 50 buses laid on to take the refugees to various locations around the capital where temporary accommodation will be offered.

Emmanuelle Cosse, France’s housing minister was on the scene to witness the evacuation.

“There are many families with children, much more than normal, they will obviously be taken care of,” she said.

The main question authorities are asked is where will the migrants end up?

Many of those who land in Paris are bound for the port of Calais on the Channel coast, where they hope to stow away on a truck crossing to Britain.

Most will be taken to buildings that have been commandeered by local authorities to be transformed into temporary accommodation, like sports halls.

More details of where the migrants will be housed is set to be released on Friday morning.

Earlier this week it emerged that the government plans to open special asylum centres across France for some 12,000 to relieve the pressure on Calais and Paris, where most congregate.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced last week that the city will open its first refugee camp in mid-October in a bid to take thousands of people off the streets.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

POLITICS

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area

European countries agreed on Thursday to push towards a long-stalled reform of the bloc's migration system, urging tighter control of external borders and better burden-sharing when it comes to asylum-seekers.

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area
European interior ministers met in the northern French city of tourcoing, where president Emmanuel Macron gave a speech. Photo: Yoat Valat/AFP

The EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, speaking after a meeting of European interior ministers, said she welcomed what she saw as new momentum on the issue.

In a reflection of the deep-rooted divisions on the issue, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin – whose country holds the rotating EU presidency – said the process would be “gradual”, and welcomed what he said was unanimous backing.

EU countries backed a proposal from French President Emmanuel Macron to create a council guiding policy in the Schengen area, the passport-free zone used by most EU countries and some affiliated nations such as Switzerland and Norway.

Schengen council

Speaking before the meeting, Macron said the “Schengen Council” would evaluate how the area was working but would also take joint decisions and facilitate coordination in times of crisis.

“This council can become the face of a strong, protective Europe that is comfortable with controlling its borders and therefore its destiny,” he said.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place on March 3rd in Brussels.

A statement released after the meeting said: “On this occasion, they will establish a set of indicators allowing for real time evaluation of the situation at our borders, and, with an aim to be able to respond to any difficulty, will continue their discussions on implementing new tools for solidarity at the external borders.”

Step by step

The statement also confirmed EU countries agreed to take a step-by-step approach on plans for reforming the EU’s asylum rules.

“The ministers also discussed the issues of asylum and immigration,” it read.

“They expressed their support for the phased approach, step by step, put forward by the French Presidency to make headway on these complex negotiations.

“On this basis, the Council will work over the coming weeks to define a first step of the reform of the European immigration and asylum system, which will fully respect the balance between the requirements of responsibility and solidarity.”

A planned overhaul of EU migration policy has so far foundered on the refusal of countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to accept a sharing out of asylum-seekers across the bloc.

That forces countries on the EU’s outer southern rim – Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain – to take responsibility for handling irregular migrants, many of whom are intent on making their way to Europe’s wealthier northern nations.

France is pushing for member states to commit to reinforcing the EU’s external borders by recording the details of every foreign arrival and improving vetting procedures.

It also wants recalcitrant EU countries to financially help out the ones on the frontline of migration flows if they do not take in asylum-seekers themselves.

Johansson was critical of the fact that, last year, “45,000 irregular arrivals” were not entered into the common Eurodac database containing the fingerprints of migrants and asylum-seekers.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser suggested her country, France and others could form a “coalition of the willing” to take in asylum-seekers even if no bloc-wide agreement was struck to share them across member states.

She noted that Macron spoke of a dozen countries in that grouping, but added that was probably “very optimistic”.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, hailed what he said was “a less negative atmosphere” in Thursday’s meeting compared to previous talks.

But he cautioned that “we cannot let a few countries do their EU duty… while others look away”.

France is now working on reconciling positions with the aim of presenting propositions at a March 3rd meeting on European affairs.

SHOW COMMENTS