Britain should accept hundreds of migrant children from the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp while continuing to fund £87 million worth of security measures around the port, the French President has said.
Speaking after making a pledge to close the camp by the end of the year, François Hollande said Britain “would be called upon” to help his plan to resolve the migrant crisis in northern France.
Noting that previous UK Prime Minister David Cameron had already agreed to take some migrant children, Mr Hollande said: “That commitment must not only be fully respected but also raised.”
The Times reports that French officials are briefing journalists that talks are already underway between Paris and London with the aim of Britain taking more migrants.
“I want to say how determined I am to see the British authorities take their share of the humanitarian effort that France is accomplishing here,” President Hollande added.
French officials claim there are over 850 unaccompanied children in the ‘Jungle’ camp who have a right join families in the UK, but so far fewer than 70 have done so.
Mr Hollande wants to relocate the migrants in small groups across France, but critics have warned the plan could spark “civil war“.
A spokesman for the establishment conservative Les Republicains party accused the government of planning to create “hundreds of Calais (camps) distributed across the country.”
The policy was a “migration diktat” that “does nothing other than create conditions for national disunity and therefore a civil war,” the spokesman added.
The party has also been targeting Britain in order to deal with France’s migration problem. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is hoping to regain office next year, said last week he would try to force Britain to open a migrant processing centre on its shores to process the Calais migrants.
“We should not act as customs officers for the English,” Mr Sarkozy said.
Britain has already agreed to fund a giant wall around the main road into Calais to stop frequent migrant attacks on traffic.