France, Britain to improve Calais migrant camp response

Members of the same family living at the Calais migrant camp known as the "Jungle"
Members of the same family living at the Calais migrant camp known as the "Jungle" Alice Pozycki

France and the UK have signed an agreement to tackle people smuggling networks on both sides of the English Channel. The agreement comes as a court in northern France has ordered French authorities to improve conditions at the giant "Jungle" migrant camp within days.


French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and his British counterpart, Theresa May signed the agreement at a meeting in London on Monday night.

"It's an agreement which reinforces cooperation between our police services, our intelligence services, and which also aims to ultimately increase judicial cooperation between our two countries in the fight against illegal immigration and smuggling networks," Cazeneuve said at a press conference.

Cazeneuve said that more British officers would be stationed in Calais where some 6,000 migrants are currently living in ramshackle encampments as they try to cross to England.

The amount of people living in the "Jungle" camp has nearly doubled since the end of September.

Last month Cazeneuve ordered heated tents for woman and children but most people remain camped out in the cold.

On Monday a court in the northern city of Lille ordered French authorities to improve the camp's conditions.

The Pas-de-Calais prefecture has eight days to install garbage collection sites and clean the camp. The court also called for at least 10 additional water stations, including 50 latrines.

A lawyer representing a group of NGOs advocating for the migrants' rights says Monday's ruling in Lille is a "first victory".

Many NGOs are still calling for vacant housing to shelter migrants and upping meal distribution to twice a day for everyone living in the camp.

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