Monday

1st May 2017

French begin dismantling Calais migrant camp

The French authorities, helped by more than 3,000 police, have begun to dismantle a massive migrant camp near the northern French port of Calais.

There were some clashes on Sunday (23 October), with dozens of people throwing rocks at police officers, who replied by shooting tear gas.

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.

But on Monday morning, many of the camp’s estimated 7,000 inhabitants calmly queued at reception points.

They were convinced by French authorities to give up on attempts to get to the UK, and agreed to be taken to refugee centres all around France where their asylum requests will be examined.

Some 2,400 people are due to leave the camp on Monday in 60 buses. The camp's population will be gone in three days if the clearance goes as planned.

Bulldozing will start on Tuesday.

The only ones who can stay in Calais are children. Earlier this month, charity organisation France Terre d’Asile found that there could be as many as 1,291 children in the camp, most of them unaccompanied and wishing to go to the UK.

They will be lodged in a makeshift reception centre for the next two weeks.

French authorities say they want British counterparts to commit to taking all children with links to the UK.

Britain has a legal duty to do so under the Dublin regulation, and the camp’s flattening puts pressure on Britain’s Home Office to meet its legal duties.

Last week, more than 200 children left Calais to reunite with their families in Britain.

Just as many could follow in the next few days.

Earlier this year, the UK also committed to taking a number of lone migrant children. The first 54 children to benefit were taken across the Channel on Sunday.

The remaining children will apply for asylum in France.

Calais, a port town located close to the Eurotunnel, has seen various migrant camps develop and being flattened by the authorities since a first reception facility was set up in 1999.

The number of migrants trying to get to the UK has increased steadily in the last months. Their presence has become increasingly contested by France's right-wing politicians, who have demanded that the camp is moved to the UK.

French president Francois Hollande vowed to close the camp in September, saying it was a humanitarian emergency.

Sarkozy campaign targets Calais migrants

People seeking international protection in the so-called Jungle in Calais in northern France should be moved to the UK, said French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy.

Migrant camp evacuated in Paris

Police on Friday morning began removing some 3,000 migrants from the French capital, one week after a similar operation in Calais.

EU stands aside as Hungary detains migrants

Commission is withholding action on Hungary's detention of asylum seekers, even as the Hungarian government tries to "stop Brussels" on immigration policy.

Austria wants out of EU migrant relocations

Austria is required to start relocating asylum seekers from Italy and Greece after an exemption to the scheme ended on 11 March. But Austria's chancellor has other ideas and wants the exemption prolonged.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process