Clearing of Calais Jungle begins

Police began clearing the refugee camp in Calais known as the "Jungle" on Monday. Its more than 6,000 inhabitants are being transferred to reception centres across France. While some commentators concern themselves with the fate of the refugees, others call on the EU to finally implement an effective policy on migration.

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Le Monde (FR) /

EU must finally adapt to immigration

If the EU states want to prevent more refugee camps like the one in Calais, it needs to rethink its immigration policy, Le Monde urges:

“Immigration is not going to stop. It is only just beginning. ... We could be seeing a lot more 'jungles' like the one in Calais and elsewhere. Unless, that is, the members of the European Union finally wake up to the fact that Europe must reconstruct itself to meet the challenge of managing and integrating a part of the vast movement of migration which will shape this century. Enormous investments are needed: centres for monitoring asylum applications in the countries of origin as well as annual summits between these countries and the EU to determine what is and isn't possible in immigration matters. Finally, we need a reform of the welfare state in order to tackle the beautiful but difficult task that integration represents.”

Gazeta Polska Codziennie (PL) /

All just economic migrants

The residents of the Calais Jungle don't need protecting, far-right French journalist Olivier Bault rails in the Gazeta Polska Codziennie:

“Calais is being emptied of illegal immigrants, not refugees. The majority of those camping in this slum weren't fleeing persecution, they were after a better life in Britain. The British media were reporting last week on cases of minors in Calais who looked 30 or 40 years old. This was after Britain had said it would take in minors with a family already on the island, now that the 'Jungle' was being evacuated. In some cases it turned out that the family in Britain was entirely fictional. In the meantime people in towns and municipalities across France are worried that the so-called refugees that they are supposed to take in will be exclusively young men.”

LSM (LV) /

From one jungle to the next

The website of public broadcaster LSM takes a look at what the future holds for the refugees of Calais:

“One hopes that these refugees will fare well on the continent. And that they will meet the right people and the right teachers; ones that put pens in their hands, not weapons. … The Calais Jungle is merciless and as with all jungles, no one comes out of it unscathed. Soon the Calais Jungle will be razed to the ground, bulldozers will push aside the plastic tents and the people who lived there will be put on buses and transferred to reception centres. Some will run away in the hope of being able to stay close to the port and take a ferry to Britain later on. From one jungle to another. Wouldn't it be better to meet these people in the gardens of Kabul rather than in the jungle?”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

France fails again on integration

With Calais France has once again exposed how miserably its migration policy has failed, Il Sole 24 Ore comments:

“Even taking the highest estimates of the number of refugees in Calais (8,000) as the basis, if they are distributed among the 450 reception centres that's an average of 18 persons per centre. A modern, civilised and well organized country should easily be able to cope with such numbers. The real problem is that this situation (which oddly enough the ruling classes don't seem to be prepared for) is unfolding in an already explosive social context - with ghettos on the periphery, radicalisation and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Fear, distrust and hostility are being fomented and stoked by the propaganda of the far right. Clearly the solution is not to close the borders but to rely on proper integration.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

France is shooting itself in the foot

Distributing the refugees across France is not a solution, writes lawyer Xavier Saincol in Le Figaro:

“In the long term this way of handling the refugee crisis will have disastrous consequences. It conveys a negative image of immigration as the result of a powerless state and as a source of chaos. An organised, controlled immigration policy negotiated with the countries of origin could be a real chance for our country on the economic, demographic, cultural levels, as it is for Europe as a whole. With its policy of forced regional distribution of illegal migrants, the government is de facto burying the principle of controlled migration and the fight against illegal immigration. It mocks the idea of positive, regulated immigration that works to France's advantage.”

ABC (ES) /

Just a temporary solution

Clearing the Calais camp won't help solve the refugee problem in the long term, ABC warns:

“The French police know that within a few months the camp they are trying to clear will be full of desperate people hoping for a better future in the UK once more. Just as the waters of the Mediterranean are full of those fleeing war and misery, on Europe's northern coast there are thousands of people planning a journey that knows no laws or borders. … Immigration, legal or illegal, is a European issue with numerous positive aspects as well as very problematic ones. In both cases the European authorities should demonstrate realism and pragmatism and prevent the voice of populism being the one that benefits from this crisis. Moving the refugees from one location to another, as is being done in France, is nothing but a stopgap solution.”

Savon Sanomat (FI) /

Why Britain is the dream destination

The refugees in Calais see the UK as a gateway to the English-speaking world, which may explain why the island exerts such a powerful attraction on them, Savon Sanomat speculates:

“There are several reasons why the refugees don't want to stay in France or elsewhere on the European continent even if they have been granted asylum. … One explanation is that now this is the last chance for them to reach the island kingdom. But this makes the puzzle all the more puzzling: why do people want to go to a country that according to all the economic forecasts is heading into a deep crisis? … One reason may be that many people are familiar with the English language and culture. And Britain is also seen as a gateway to the rest of the English-speaking world which as a global whole is seen as a world of possibilities in which the individual is more than just the object of governmental measures.”