EU offers France funds to help with Calais migrants

Commission says border incidents ‘stark example’ for the need for a greater solidarity

Migrants walk near the Eurotunnel rail terminal in Coquelles near the northern French port of Calais. The European Union is offering funds and aid to help France cope with growing numbers. Photograph:  Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty Images.

Migrants walk near the Eurotunnel rail terminal in Coquelles near the northern French port of Calais. The European Union is offering funds and aid to help France cope with growing numbers. Photograph: Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty Images.

 

The European Union is offering funds and aid to help France cope with growing numbers of migrants near the northern city of Calais.

It comes as thousands of migrants have been scaling fences near the Channel Tunnel linking France to Britain and boarding freight trains or trucks destined for the UK.

EU executive commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that “we can provide technical assistance through the EU agencies and emergency funding” to France.

She said the border incidents are “another stark example for the need for a greater level of solidarity and responsibility” among EU member states.

The Commission wants all member countries to participate in a scheme to relocate thousands of refugees from Greece and Italy.

Research by French authorities estimates that as many as seven in 10 migrants in Calais may be reaching the UK. It found that 70 per cent of those who are “processed” in the area of the port leave the vicinity within a four-month period.

Kent Police chief constable Alan Pughsley, who forwarded the data on to the parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “They cannot ascertain whether these migrants leave to go elsewhere in France, or whether they enter the UK.

“Either way, their figures identify a transient migrant population.”

PA