French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has announced a plan to create thousands of new shelter places for the huge influx of migrants to EU shores. Cazeneuve said it was a matter of "humanity and solidarity."
France plans to create 11,000 new housing places for asylum seekers, the country's interior ministry announced on Wednesday.
The plan will see new shelters built for at least 4,000 people by 2016, accommodation for 5,500 who have already been granted asylum, and some 1,500 places in emergency housing for those who have entered France illegally.
"The proposals were developed with a concern for coherence, humanity and solidarity," said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. He added that some 4,000 housing places have already been built in France since 2012.
Cazeneuve is a staunch supporter of a possible European Union plan to split refugees throughout the 28-member bloc along a quota system. France granted 20,640 asylum seekers the right to remain in the country permanently in 2014, but as 100,000 people have arrived at Europe's borders since the beginning of 2015, the country is struggling to handle the ever-increasing number of migrants fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Africa.
Migrant camps in Calais and Paris
The biggest difficulty facing France is how to deal with migrants with no legal status, many of whom recently set up makeshift camps in Paris and the coastal city of Calais.
Cazeneuve said that is for these kind of cases the 1,500 new places in emergency shelters are intended. On a recent trip to Calais, Cazeneuve said his ministry intends to encourage illegal migrants to apply for asylum, as it is the "best chance" for their future.
Hundreds of migrants have also been blocked for days at the border of Ventimiglia in Italy and Menton in France, where the police have blocked their entry, citing EU regulations that a migrant's asylum claims must be processed in the first EU nation they set foot in.
es/rc (AP, dpa)