France will completely dismantle the Calais migrant camp known as the “Jungle,” President Francois Hollande said Monday.
Hollande, on a visit to the port city of Calais, called for the “Jungle” to be “completely and definitively dismantled,” by the end of the year, adding it was an “exceptional operation prompted by exceptional circumstances.”
Authorities say the estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people who live at the camp will be placed in centers across the country—a move that is likely to face opposition after several high-profile terrorist attacks in France since 2015. But Hollande also called on the UK to play its part for the migrants.
“Just because the United Kingdom has taken a sovereign decision, that does not absolve it of its obligations toward France,” he said.
His comments refer to two events: The decision by UK voters this summer to leave the European Union, and the 2003 Le Touquet agreement under which the UK set up its border controls in Calais, on the French side of the English Channel.
Many of the migrants in the “Jungle” try to enter the UK illegally from Calais, from where trucks and other forms of traffic make their way between continental Europe and the UK. The UK is financing the construction of a 0.6-mile wall in Calais in an attempt to deter the migrants, but local French officials, as well as UK industry groups, say such a structure will have a limited impact on the flow of the migrants.