Hollande urges Britain to 'play its part' in managing migrants amid jungle closure

Hollande urges Britain to 'play its part' in managing migrants amid jungle closure

Britain must "play its part" in managing the Calais migrant crisis as France prepares to close down the Jungle camp, President Francois Hollande has said.

Mr Hollande, who was visiting Calais for the first time since he became president, said Britain must be involved in the "humanitarian effort" that France is undertaking.

The government is preparing to "completely, definitively" dismantle the Calais migrant camp, he added.

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.

Mr Hollande said that the camp was "not acceptable" and "extremely difficult" for refugees fleeing war zones and his government intended to shut it down by the end of the year.

Half of the Calais camp was dismantled in March but its population has since doubled.

Britain has already committed around £85m in total to reinforce security in the Calais region.

In recent days work has started on a barrier dubbed the "Great wall of Calais".

The four-metre-high (13ft) concrete wall, which stretches for 1km, is being built along the main motorway to the port in northern France.

Reports suggest the project will cost £1.9m and is being funded as part of a £17m cash injection from the UK announced earlier this year.

Last year Britain announced an extra £7m would be provided towards increasing security at the Channel Tunnel railhead at Coquelles. This funding was on top of a £12m pot that had already been announced.

The actions of migrants attempting to enter the UK at the French port have caused continuing problems for haulage operators and also led to major disruption earlier this month caused by protests against the site.

The closure plan will see 40 to 50 people being held at each of the reception centres in regions across France for up to four months while authorities investigate their cases.

Those who do not seek asylum would be deported.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said: "Francois Hollande says he will dismantle the Calais camp. But we've heard it all before.

"The French Government needs to make sure it actually happens this time and that the people they remove are stopped from just moving back to Calais.

"Britain has already paid millions for walls and fences in Calais. Yet the French keep asking for more of our money.

"Our taxpayers' money should be spent on more border security at Dover and in the English Channel.

"Hollande needs to get a grip and make sure the people from the Jungle are returned to their home nations to end this crisis once and for all."

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