What will become of the Calais "Jungle"?
The refugee camp notoriously known as the "Jungle of Calais" in the northern French city will be closed down, President Hollande has announced. On his first visit to Calais he said that he would have the more than 10,000 inhabitants of the camp resettled to other areas in France. Hopefully the president will make good on his promise this time, commentators write, and take him to task for his hesitancy.
Hopefully the president sticks to his plan
Hollande's plan is only good if he really implements it, La Croix believes:
“Let's hope that the president had good reasons for making such a statement on Monday. Because if he doesn't make good on it, it will be yet another nail in the coffin of political discourse - and only the extremist parties will benefit. Perhaps he's hoping for successful negotiations with Britain, which has so far been content to simply finance the erection of barriers. If legal immigration channels were opened it would be far easier to wipe out the gangs of people smugglers and bring the migrants to reception centres, where they could receive counselling on the best course to take - which is not necessarily the one which leads to the UK.”
Hollande's dithering helps Sarkozy
The case of Calais shows very clearly why Hollande would be defeated if Sarkozy becomes the conservative presidential candidate, Público writes:
“Thanks to Hollande and his political incompetence in dealing with difficult issues, it is a distinct possibility that Sarkozy will become president once again in 2017. Just look at Calais: Sarkozy has already been there twice and has promised to close down the camp and seal the borders for new refugees (which is just what France's conservatives and far right want to hear). … Hollande only recently visited Calais and he wasn't in the refugee camp but just in the city. He promised that the camp would be cleared by the winter. Sarkozy on the other hand has said that if he is elected the problem will be solved by the summer of 2017. Sarkozy crows while Hollande dithers because the incumbent president knows that there is no way to resettle so many people.”
Marine Le Pen leads the pack
The French Socialists are bolstering the far right with their increasingly harsh policies on refugees, The Guardian criticises:
“In this dive to the bottom, Ms Le Pen is the winner: polls indicate she is a racing certainty for the second round of the 2017 elections, while so severely is the left divided, its chances of reaching the second round currently appear close to zero. Like the rest of European social democracy, France’s centre-left sees its base fast eroding. Centrist votes are now being courted by an outsider, Emmanuel Macron, the 38-year-old ex-banker who resigned last month as economics minister to launch the En Marche! (Forward!) political movement.”