Hol­lande vows to shut down Calais mi­grant camp

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

CALAIS (AP): THE MI­GRANT camp in Calais must be fully dis­man­tled by the end of the year, French Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande said yes­ter­day, ad­dress­ing a ma­jor is­sue for his So­cial­ist gov­ern­ment ahead of next year’s pres­i­den­tial election.

Hol­lande, who was vis­it­ing Calais for the first time since win­ning of­fice in 2012, said the camp known as ‘the Jun­gle’ is a “hu­man­i­tar­ian emer­gency”.

Au­thor­i­ties say about 7,000 peo­ple live in squalid con­di­tions near the port of Calais hop­ing to get to Bri­tain, but aid groups say the num­ber is closer to 10,000.

Hol­lande, who is eye­ing a re- election bid, is fac­ing harsh crit- icism from con­ser­va­tive and far- A view of the makeshift camp in Calais, north­ern France. The mi­grant camp in Calais must be fully dis­man­tled by the end of the year. right ri­vals who say the camp is a sym­bol of his fail­ure to deal with Europe’s mi­grant cri­sis.

For­mer pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy, who is com­pet­ing to win the con­ser­va­tive pri­mary, promised last week in Calais that he could solve the is­sue in a few months by re-es­tab­lish­ing strict bor­der con­trols all around the coun­try.

FREE-TRAVEL ZONE

France is a mem­ber of Europe’s pass­port free-travel zone while Bri­tain is not.

In a speech to po­lice forces se­cur­ing the area, Hol­lande vowed to shut the camp “with method and de­ter­mi­na­tion” so that new camps don’t ap­pear near Calais or else­where across France.

Hol­lande said po­lice forces will re­main in the area “as long as needed” af­ter the camp is shut.

“We must guar­an­tee a durable and ef­fec­tive seal­ing of the French-Bri­tish bor­der,” he said, in­sist­ing that Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties must also do their part.

He ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to rene­go­ti­at­ing the 2003 treaty that ef­fec­tively puts the Bri­tish bor­der in Calais. Sarkozy, who signed it as in­te­rior min­is­ter, now wants to send mi­grants to a cen­tre on Bri­tish ter­ri­tory.

“This would be too easy to say ‘let them go to the UK’ ... . That would largely open the stream (of mi­grants),” Hol­lande said in a se­cond speech in the port of Calais.

The gov­ern­ment an­nounced plans in the sum­mer to dis­perse Calais mi­grants to cen­tres across France, where they will be able to ap­ply for asy­lum. The gov­ern­ment has not given a firm time­line.

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