• France's news in English
Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis
Photo: AFP

Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis

AFP · 26 Sep 2016, 09:29

Published: 26 Sep 2016 09:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Sep 2016 09:29 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French President Francois Hollande said on a visit to the port of Calais on Monday that the sprawling "Jungle"
migrant camp would be "definitively dismantled" under a plan to relocate the migrants to centres around the country.

Hollande said the camp "would be pulled down before the end of the year".

"I have come to Calais to confirm the decision that I took with the government... to dismantle (the camp) definitively, entirely and rapidly. That means by the end of the year," Hollande said.

Hollande, on his first visit to Calais as president, also called on British authorities to "play their part" in assisting the migrants, most of whom have their hearts set on reaching England.

"I am determined to see the British authorities play their part in the humanitarian effort that France is undertaking" in Calais, Hollande said, flanked by security forces.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants, many from Sudan and Afghanistan, are currently living in the "Jungle", the launchpad for their attempts to stow away on lorries heading across the Channel to Britain.

Hollande's visit comes just days after his conservative predecessor Sarkozy -- who is hoping to return as president in elections next year --  visited the town to promote his tough line on migration.

The president will meet police, local politicians, NGOs and business leaders but is not expected to visit the camp itself.

Migration has been a low-key issue under his four-year-old presidency.

But he has been forced to take a stronger stance on the issue, under pressure from brash right-winger Sarkozy and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

'Nearing a solution'

Both Sarkozy and Le Pen have made immigration and national identity key themes in early campaigning for next year's elections, which has echoes of the US race for the White House.

"We are nearing a solution," Hollande, said referring to the Calais camp, assuring that the issue would be resolved in accordance with "the values of the Republic."

The government has said the migrants will be moved to 164 reception centres around the country "before winter."

A flurry of preparations in Calais there suggest the operation may begin shortly.

On a visit to one of the new reception centres in the central city of Tours at the weekend Hollande had declared that France would not be a "country of camps."

Story continues below…

Calais has become a symbol of Europe's failure to resolve the migration crisis that continues to divide the continent, after people fleeing war and misery across the Mediterranean began pouring into Europe in unprecedented numbers.

Plans to relocate the Calais migrants have sparked controversy and protests, with local residents in some parts of France earmarked for new asylum centres vehemently opposed to the move.

The "Jungle" camp has also become a sore point in relations between France and Britain.

Last week, building work began on a British-funded wall to clamp down onrepeated attempts by migrants to stow away on trucks heading for Britain.

Rights groups have criticised the hardship and dangers facing the migrants living in the camp, particularly the hundreds of unaccompanied minors.

A 14-year-old Afghan boy was killed by a car earlier this month as he tried to climb aboard a truck.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

How Paris is rapidly becoming Europe's 'City of Innovation'
Photo: AFP

If you want to start a company then Paris is the place to do it, it seems.

'Jungle' clearance: Migrants begin to leave Calais camp
All photos: AFP

The "Jungle" clearance is underway.

France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

Parisians cheer on protesting French police
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
jobs available