Whilst hundreds of children spend another night in a makeshift shelter near the bulldozed ‘Jungle’ camp, France and the UK continue to disagree on their fate and squabble over whether they should remain in France, or move to Britain.
Whilst government officials say that more than 6,000 people have been transferred throughout the week to different regions of France, many minors appear to be in limbo staying in large container shelters near the unsafe camp.
In a statement, the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he was counting on London to honour an obligation to take minors from Calais.
Britain’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, instead insisted in a statement that the best thing would be for the unaccompanied minors to remain in France.
“Any child either not eligible or not in the secure area of the camp should be cared for and safeguarded by the French authorities. We understand that specialist facilities have been made available elsewhere in France to ensure this happens,” she added in comments that refer to accommodation France has opened to rehouse those refugees who have agreed to leave the Jungle.
This is contrary to the European Union rules, stating that Britain must take in unaccompanied children who have family ties in the country. An amendment to those rules adopted in Britain this year states that such minors whose best interests are served by doing so should also be admitted.
A joint statement by Cazeneuve and France’s Housing Minister said France hoped Britain would “quickly execute its responsibilities to take in these minors, who hope to come to the United Kingdom. This is the best way to give them the protection they are due.”
They also highlighted how France has provided shelter for 1,451 child migrants in a temporary accommodation centre in Calais during the past two weeks, while Britain had only allowed 274 unaccompanied minors to be resettled in the UK.