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Published: Sun, October 02, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

French President Vows to Shut Down Unacceptable Calais Camp


Hollande, who was visiting Calais for the first time since winning office in 2012, said the camp known as "the Jungle" is a "humanitarian emergency".

Hollande is scheduled to visit the city of Calais on Monday as he campaigns for a return to the presidency next year.

His comments came despite criticism from many conservative and far-right politicians, who have argued that France has already welcomed tens of thousands of migrants from Syria. The president of the National Front is campaigning to leave the European Union and its visa-free zone, which would allow France to reinstate controls at national borders.

In a speech at the nearby port, Mr Hollande said: "We need to completely and definitively dismantle the Jungle camp".

"I want to see the British authorities play their part in the humanitarian efforts which France is doing today", he said.

The French president announced on Sunday that the Jungle camp would be closed down and its 9,000 occupants moved to reception centres across France.

The government has not given a firm timeline.

But plans to relocate the migrants have sparked controversy and protests, with local residents in areas where new shelters could be established vehemently opposed to the move.

They will be dispersed into groups of 40 to 50 people for a limited period between three and four months.

Those who do not seek asylum will be deported.

In a letter to Hollande, a group of eight nonprofit organizations helping migrants called for a long-term policy of hospitality and integration in France.

He said he was in Calais to tell the "desperate immigrants" that they will not remain in the camp because "their place is not here" but they would "protect them as much as necessary".

"France is undertaking and that they continue to do that in the future".

"What happens in the "Jungle" is ultimately a matter for the French authorities", a British government spokesman said.

The UK has committed around £85 million in total to reinforce security in the Calais region. "Our taxpayers' money should be spent on more border security at Dover and in the English Channel", Elphicke said.

"Just because the United Kingdom has taken a sovereign decision, it does not mean that it has absolved itself of its responsibilities toward France, but quite the opposite", Hollande said. It is also likely to be a major factor in France's presidential election.

Truckers and farmers block the highway near Calais, northern France, Monday Sept. 5, 2016.

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