News & Politics

France Moves to Shut Down Part of 'the Jungle'

(AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

After months and months of tolerating a vast “Camp of the Saints” in Calais, near the entrance to the Chunnel and openly vowing to invade Britain, the French have made the first moves to close down the reeking, illegal settlement:

The French authorities are conducting tent-to-tent visits to urge residents at the controversial “Jungle” camp in Calais to leave. It follows a court decision on Thursday which approved a government plan to clear the camp. Authorities say around 1,000 migrants will be affected by the eviction plan for the southern part of the camp. Overall, more than 3,700 migrants live in the camp, many of whom hope to cross the Channel to reach Britain.

Conditions there are squalid and its sprawling presence has become a controversial issue in both France and the UK.Local officials said public areas such as places of worship or schools would not be cleared and that it would be a “humanitarian operation”.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the authorities would carry out the court order humanely. Residents would be relocated to a nearby park of converted shipping containers or other centres within the country. “There was never any question of the French government sending bulldozers on to the site,” he said on Thursday.

It’s a start, but there’s still a long way to go: bulldozers and restoration of the rule of French law are exactly what’s needed. Belgium recently announced it’s “temporarily” reinstituting border controls with France to prevent further “refugee” invasion. Meanwhile:

The European Union has until a March 7 summit with Turkey to curb the flow of refugees into Europe or the bloc’s fragile migration strategy could “completely break down,” the European commissioner for migration warned Thursday. At the summit, EU leaders — who have spent several months arguing over how to deal with the refugee crisis — will seek to push a strategy backed by Germany and the European Commission to stem the flow of refugees to Europe.

“In the next 10 days we need tangible and clear results on the ground otherwise there is the risk the whole system will completely break down,” Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters after a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels.

The ministers grappled to repair deepening divisions over their approach to the migration crisis, after a splinter-group move by Austria to seal borders triggered a chain reaction along the Western Balkan route, leaving thousands of refugees stranded in Greece.

Political tensions surrounding the issue escalated Thursday afternoon when Greece recalled its ambassador in Vienna and issued a sharply worded statement decrying actions “that have their roots in the 19th century.”

“The idea of Europe” was always a chimera and now it’s breaking down right in front of our eyes. Only the restoration of the nation-state and national sovereignty will correct the situation.