1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

French minister vows to shut Calais 'Jungle'

September 2, 2016

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has vowed to dismantle the migrant camp at Calais, ahead of a visit to the 'Jungle.' He told a regional paper how the shutdown would take place.

Calais migrant camp
Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Huguen

In an interview with a regional French newspaper, Cazeneuve said he would press ahead with the camp's closure "with the greatest determination."

Ahead of a visit to the camp later on Friday, he said the site in the northern coastal town of Calais would be dismantled in stages, while creating accommodation for thousands of refugees elsewhere in France.

"We have already dismantled the southern area in early March, and we have already begun in the north," the minister told the Nord Littoral daily newspaper.

His comments follow repeated promises by French ministers to shut down the makeshift camp, which is home to close to nearly 7,000 migrants, according to the latest French figures.

The population of the camp includes large numbers of Afghans, Somalis, Sudanese and Kurds, among other asylum seekers.

Calais migrant camp
France has replaced part of the camp with converted shipping containers to house migrantsImage: Reuters/P. Rossignol

Many of the migrants gather in Calais in the hopes of smuggling themselves aboard lorries that cross the English Channel to Britain either through the Channel Tunnel or on board ferries.

France also plans to create 5,000 new emergency accommodation places for asylum seekers by next year, Caseneuve said. He denied suggestions by one of France's police unions that the Calais camp currently holds up to 10,000 migrants.

The minister also promised to send an additional 200 police officers to Calais to boost the force of 1,900 officers already protecting the area around the Channel Tunnel and port. France has mooted transferring the migrant camp to the the British side of the English Channel.

Since last October, more than 5,000 asylum seekers have left the northern French town for 161 special centers set up around France.

Casaneuve, who will spend three hours at the site on Friday, said French President Francois Hollande would visit Calais in late September.

mm/gsw (AFP, Littoral Nord)