Global Independent Analytics

Paris to Open Camp for Several Hundred Migrants

Major says city ‘will not stand by and do nothing’

Matthew Dalton for The Wall Street Journal reports: Several hundred migrants will be housed on some of the priciest real estate in Europe under a plan announced by officials here Tuesday to set up a camp for them in the French capital.

The mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo, delivered a statement saying that some places in the north part of the city have been identified as appropriate for the purpose of hosting the refugees, and their locations will be announced soon.

“Paris will not stand by and do nothing while the Mediterranean becomes a graveyard for refugees,” Ms. Hidalgo said at a press conference at the city hall.

The move indicates the city’s readiness to deal with migrants who have flocked here in recent years, often living in squalid makeshift encampments that draw complaints from neighbors. The self-made camps have been shut down by the police repeatedly, but nevertheless continued to pop up in other parts of the city.

“We would no longer see these undignified camps,” Ms. Hidalgo said.

She assumed the city would establish modular units that would be ready for habitation in a matter of weeks. The camp will be “sufficiently large to welcome several hundred people,” she added.

France has been relatively untouched by Europe’s most recent migrant crisis, particularly compared with Germany, where hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East have arrived since the beginning of last year.

Still, the migrant crisis has had a hard hit on French President François Hollande, who has seen Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, vault to the top of French public opinion polls in part by attacking him on the matter.

Concerns have grown even more after deadly attacks in Paris last autumn, followed by a revelation that Islamic State hid several of its operatives among the migrants arriving in Europe from Syria.

Earlier this year, the government decided to shut down a sprawling migrant camp, which has been occupied for several years and had inflamed tensions in Calais in the north of France. The vast majority of its inhabitants were waiting for a chance to leave France for the U.K., believing their job prospects are better there or in an effort to reunite with family.

Ms. Hidalgo said Paris would no longer wait for the national government to do more to provide dignified accommodation for migrants. “We will take matters into our own hands,” she concluded.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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