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Immigration/Emmigration

Calais mayor: ‘Don’t call them Calais migrants they’re Hollande’s migrants’

NATACHA Bouchart, the conservative mayor of Calais, claims that she is fuming she was not asked to contribute to the migrant relocation plan, and accused the Socialist government of presenting local authorities with a “fait accompli”.

Natacha Bouchart / Calais campGETTY

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart was not asked to contribute to the migrant relocation plan


Mrs Bouchart was referring to the interior minister’s plan to dismantle the Calais Jungle by relocating the more than 10,000 migrants currently living in the camp to other reception centres across France.

“I find their methods rather flimsy. It would have been nice if someone had asked for our opinion,” she told Le Parisien.

The hardline mayor also said that she did not think that demolishing the Jungle would help ease the pressure on Calais.

She said: “I doubt it will. The relocation plan has come far too late … France needs to take a firmer stance. We’re asking mayors to welcome Calais migrants, but they’re not Calais’s migrants: they’re Hollande’s and Cazeneuve’s!”

According to Mrs Bouchart, Mr Hollande’s government does not have the migrant crisis “under control”.

Francois HollandeGETTY

According to Mrs Bouchart, Mr Hollande’s government does not have the migrant crisis “under control”


The right-wing mayor is also fed up of all the bad press Calais has received ever since migrants started pouring into the northern port town in a bid to reach the UK.

“The fact that people keep saying that the relocation plan will lead to ‘mini Calais’ really bothers me. I refuse to let people butcher my town’s name.”

And Mrs Bouchart is right on many fronts: the fact that the Jungle camp is being dismantled soon does not mean Calais will become migrant free overnight.

Some of the migrants living in unofficial parts of the Jungle are not part of the relocation plan


In fact, the Jungle consists of more than one camp: there is one official reception centre run by the state; a north zone dotted with makeshift shacks and tents; and then a section where people have set up camp in converted containers.

I refuse to let people butcher my town’s name

Natacha Bouchart

But some of the migrants living in the unofficial parts of the Jungle are not part of the relocation plan.

While the migrants who have applied for refugee or asylum status will be sent to other reception centres, the remaining migrants will be moved to the camp’s official sections, which, unlike the makeshift camps, will not be destroyed.

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