France’s Macron wades into Calais migrant crisis

This file photo taken on March 16, 2016 shows a man sitting in the so-called “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais, northern France, during the end of the dismatling of the camp’s southern section. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2018

France’s Macron wades into Calais migrant crisis

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will defend his controversial immigration policy Tuesday in the northern port of Calais, long a magnet for refugees and migrants trying to reach Britain.
France’s centrist president, who campaigned for open borders in last year’s election, has since drawn criticism for his government’s uncompromising attitude toward migrants sleeping rough on the streets of Calais and Paris.
France received a record 100,000 asylum claims last year, making it one of Europe’s top destinations.
Macron has promised to speed up waiting times for asylum applications while also stepping up expulsions of those who remain in France after being turned down for refugee status — an approach he touts as mixing “efficiency” and “humanity.”
NGOs, trade unions and left wing parties take a different view, often accusing him of wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove.
The police in Calais routinely break up the camps of migrants who descend on the region to try and stow away on trucks crossing the Channel to Britain, a favorite destination for Afghans and east Africans.
Hundreds of migrants are still massed in the area, over a year after the former Socialist government bulldozed the Jungle, a squalid makeshift camp in Calais, and moved its more than 7,000 occupants to shelters nationwide.
In December, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb further raised the hackles of migrant support groups by ordering ID checks in emergency shelters, sparking fears of a witch hunt against failed asylum seekers.
On Thursday, Macron will travel to southern England for a French-British summit where he will demand that Britain, which in 2003 effectively pushed back its border to France, do more to help ease the migrant burden.

Some in France see the situation in Calais as one of Britain’s making, given that the most of the migrants who descend on the area are desperate to reach England.
In an interview with Le Parisien published Sunday, Collomb said he would push for changes to the 2003 Le Touquet accords allowing British border controls on French territory.
Collomb said France would specifically demand “concrete measures” from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on taking in more unaccompanied minors seeking to join relatives or friends across the water, and on contributing more to the costs of policing the border.
On Tuesday, Macron will meet migrants in Calais and NGOs working with them, as well as with local officials, residents and security force members calling for tougher laws to prevent the emergence of another Jungle.
Natacha Bouchart, the right wing mayor of Calais, told BFM television on Monday that the local population was “tired” of the situation and expected a lot from the president’s visit.
But the trip has not been welcomed by all, with two NGOs on the frontlines of the crisis in Calais refusing an invitation to meet him.
Francois Guennoc of the Auberge des Migrants charity said he did not want to act “merely as an alibi for a strategy that is already well established.”


Institutions review links with Britain’s Prince Andrew

Updated 19 November 2019

Institutions review links with Britain’s Prince Andrew

  • The review comes after the BBC broadcast a lengthy interview with the prince on Saturday in which he tried to explain his links to Epstein
  • The unprecedented subject matter tackled in the television interview — and the royal’s apparent lack of empathy for victims — has dominated British media in recent days

LONDON: A British university on Tuesday said it was reviewing its links with Prince Andrew after he defended his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in a TV interview.
But a bank said it would not be renewing its backing for a project he founded.
“We will be reviewing the position of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, as our patron at the next board of governors meeting on Tuesday 26th November,” said London Metropolitan University.
“The university opposes all forms of discrimination of discrimination, abuse, human trafficking and any activity that is contrary to the university’s values.”
Andrew — Queen Elizabeth II’s second son — took over the role from his father, Prince Philip, in 2013. There have been royal patrons at the institution since 1848.
The review comes after the BBC broadcast a lengthy interview with the prince on Saturday in which he tried to explain his links to Epstein, who was found dead in jail in August.
Andrew strongly denied claims he had had sex with a 17-year-old girl allegedly trafficked by Epstein but expressed little regret about his friendship with the disgraced financier.
The unprecedented subject matter tackled in the television interview — and the royal’s apparent lack of empathy for victims — has dominated British media in recent days.
It has also put pressure on those with links to the prince.
Students at Huddersfield University in northern England said they wanted Andrew to resign as a patron, claiming he was “an utterly unsuitable representative” because of the allegations.
Standard Chartered bank meanwhile said it was not renewing its sponsorship of the prince’s [email protected] project, which encourages entrepreneurs and start-ups around the world.
The bank cited “commercial reasons” for not renewing the current agreement when it expires in December.
Accountancy firm KPMG’s backing for the mentoring scheme expired at the end of last month and will not be renewed.
Pharma giant AstraZeneca’s partnership is due up next month. It is also being reviewed.
Insurance giant AON reportedly asked for its logo to be removed from the [email protected] website, according to the Financial Times.