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Cazeneuve addresses Senate on plans to move migrants

Harbour workers, storekeepers and residents marched on the motorway in protest against the migrant situation in Calais on 5 September, 2016.
Harbour workers, storekeepers and residents marched on the motorway in protest against the migrant situation in Calais on 5 September, 2016. Reuters/Charles Platiau

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve went before the Senate on Wednesday to discuss the government's controversial plans to move migrants from the country's northern Calais region to new sites in other parts of the country.

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Cazeneuve told the senators the government will make sure the new centres do not overpower their host communities. He said all of the new centres will be "appropriate" in scale and that it "makes no sense" to put a big centre in a small community.

Cazeneuve said migrants who leave Calais for the new migrant reception sites will be moved according to a breakdown of certain criteria. He said that government officials in each community would be consulted as or before the migrants come, and that the government wants each local region to propose their ideas.

On Monday charities said that the squalid migrant camp known as the "Jungle" has become home to nearly 1,000 more people since August, bringing the total to more than 10,000. The government's last official count in mid August put their number at 6,900.

Speaking before the senators on Monday, Cazeneuve said the government had opened 161 reception centres to date, accommodating some 5,600 refugees. Cazeneuve said he wanted to use that word 'refugees', because he said, 80 percent of the people who had been processed by France's reception centres went on to apply for asylum in France.

The French government is currently in the process of taking down the Calais tent camps.

Meanwhile building began on a wall in Calais to clamp down on these repeated attempts by migrants to stow away on trucks heading for Britain. Britain is financing the project at a cost of 2.7 million euros. Work is due to be completed by the end of the year.

 

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