Court backs plan to evacuate Calais migrant campThursday 25 February 2016 22.19
A French court has give the green light to plans to evacuate hundreds of migrants from the notorious "Jungle" camp in the northern French port of Calais.
Activists working in the camp had asked the court to stop the evacuation of the southern half of the "Jungle," with many of the migrants wanting to stay near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, the gateway to their ultimate goal of Britain.
However, Calais town authorities said that no-one will be evacuated from the "Jungle" by force.
"We are going to continue the work undertaken with the [migrants'] associations to persuade the migrants to leave so that they have a roof over their heads," said an official, who asked not to be named.
Tsipras says Greece won't become a 'migrant warehouse'
Elsewhere, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged European Union countries to honour the bloc's decisions on sharing the burden of the migrant crisis, saying that if they did not, Greece would go against future agreements.
Austria, defying criticism from Greek and UN refugee officials, took further steps yesterday to coordinate border restrictions spanning the Balkans that are intensifying a logjam of migrants in Greece.
"We will not accept turning the country into a permanent warehouse of souls with Europe continuing to function as if nothing is happening," Mr Tsipras told parliament.
"Greece will not agree to deals [in the EU] if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured," he said.
Greece has protested against restrictions imposed by countries further north along the main land corridor into Europe, including along Austria's frontier with Slovenia and Macedonia's border with Greece.
Greece will 'demand the mandatory participation'
"We will not tolerate that a number of countries will be building fences and walls at the borders without accepting even a single refugee," Mr Tsipras said. "Greece will demand the mandatory participation of EU countries in the relocation of refugees."
He said it was unacceptable for EU partners to dump the burden of the crisis on Greece, forcing it to shoulder a weight way disproportionate to its size.
"We did and will continue to do everything we can to provide warmth, essential help and security to uprooted, hounded people," he said. "We will either be in a union of common rules for all or everyone will do they please: we will not accept the latter."
Addressing worries that flow restrictions at the northern border could swell the number of migrants stranded in Greece, Mr Tsipras said he would meet political party leaders to form a common stance before an early March summit of EU leaders on the migration crisis.
Yesterday he told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he was deeply displeased about the failure of some EU leaders to stick to bloc decisions on tackling the refugee crisis.
The two leaders agreed to intensify efforts to implement EU decisions and start NATO operations in the Aegean Sea immediately to counter smuggling networks to reduce migrant inflows.
Appalling situation for children
Ginny Howells, Save the Children's emergency manager in Calais, said it was vital children were kept safe throughout the eviction process.
She said: "The decision to go ahead with bulldozing the southern part of the Calais refugee camp will make what was already an appalling situation for children even worse.
"Homes and shelters will be destroyed without there being enough spaces in the new accommodation for people to move into," she added.