Wednesday

28th Feb 2024

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

Opinion

Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?

Fewer than one-in-ten Ukrainian refugees intend to settle permanently outside Ukraine, according to new research by the associate director of research and the director of gender and economic inclusion at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

Latest News

  1. Macron on Western boots in Ukraine: What he really meant
  2. Amazon lobbyists banned from EU Parliament
  3. MEPs slap three-month ban on foreign ads ahead of EU polls
  4. EU nature restoration law approved after massive backlash
  5. Memo from Munich — EU needs to reinvent democracy support
  6. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  7. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  8. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us