Monday

22nd May 2017

Sarkozy campaign targets Calais migrants

French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy has joined the chorus of French right-wing politicians that want migrants in Calais moved to the UK.

The Jungle, a unofficial refugee camp near the French port, including others that have mushroomed nearby, is expected to soon reach 10,000 people from around 6,000 earlier this year.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The numbers are growing due to the intensification of conflicts in the Middle East and north Africa and due to warmer weather, which favours sea crossings.

Most want to go to the UK but are stuck in France, with many having risked their lives in their effort to reach Europe.

Sarkozy at a rally in northern France in Le Touquet on Saturday (27 August) said Britain should instead open a centre on its territory to deal with the asylum claims.

“I'm demanding the opening of a centre in Britain to deal with asylum seekers in Britain so that Britain can do the work that concerns them," he said.

Xavier Bertrand, president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region, where Calais is located, made similar comments over the weekend.

He said the asylum hopefuls should be able to lodge their claims for UK protection while in France. Those rejected should then be deported to their home countries, he said.

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart has also requested the issue be offloaded to the UK amid vague demands for "economic compensation".

In July, she told this website that Britain's decision to leave the EU presented a fresh opportunity to revamp Le Touquet, a bilateral border agreement with the UK.

"What I am asking is to take advantage of UK's EU exit vote," she said.

But Damien Careme, the mayor of Grande Synthe, a town near Calais, remained ambivalent of any reform to the pact.

He told this website, also in July, that refugees had already arrived in Calais before the Touquet agreement had been signed in 2003.

"Before the Touquet accords there were Kosovar refugees in Sengatte," he said.

Instead, he noted other factors like Britain's more attractive job market may play a bigger role in luring people to seek protection in the UK.

The 2003 pact allows UK immigration officers to carry out passport checks in Calais. Their French counterparts do the same in Dover.

French president Francois Hollande had earlier said the agreement would not be revamped following a meeting with UK's PM Theresa May over the summer.

But next year's presidential elections in France may pose a fresh challenge to the pact.

Sarkozy is not the only presidential candidate that wants the agreement scrapped and the refugees moved to the UK.

His conservative rival Alain Juppe, France's former prime minister, also wants the deal to be renegotiated.

“The logic requires that border controls take place on British soil," Juppe told the Financial Times in July.

Juppe officially launched his presidential bid over the weekend and is considered the front runner.

Opinion

Development serving the purpose of migration control

While the EU is sacrificing development aid to serve short-term migration interests, it is important to realise that enhanced border controls will not solve the root causes of forced migration and displacement.

Italian refugee centre allegedly run by mafia

One of Italy's most powerful mafia syndicates, the 'Ndrangheta, allegedly stole over €32 million from a refugee centre run by a Catholic charity in southern Italy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  2. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes Patients
  4. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  5. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  7. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  8. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  9. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  11. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus