Belgium reintroduces border controls with France

Meanwhile, French authorities want to evacuate thousands living in southern part of 'Jungle' camp in northern port city Calais

Belgium reintroduces border controls with France

World Bulletin / News Desk

Belgium has decided on Tuesday to temporarily impose controls on its border with France in a bid to prevent possible refugee movement in case the "Jungle" camp in the northern port city of Calais is evacuated.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said his country has told European Union authorities of the Schengen borderless zone it would temporarily re-introduce border controls.

"We have informed the European Commission that we will temporarily depart from Schengen rules," Jambon said in a press conference in Brussels, referring to the 26-country Schengen zone.

Jambon added that up to 290 police officials a day will make sure that no camps are set up on the Belgian side of the border and that migrants cannot slip aboard Britain-bound ships in the port of Zeebrugge.

The presence of large numbers of refugees in the area has persisted since 1999 when the Red Cross Sangatte reception center became rapidly overcrowded and the “Jungle” was established in late 2014.

The presence of more than 4,000 refugees - attracted by the nearby Channel tunnel terminal and the Calais port as a route to the U.K. - have been a constant in the area despite French attempts to disperse them.

Last week, French authorities said residents of the southern half of what is commonly known as the "Jungle" had until 8 p.m. local time (1900GMT) on Tuesday to leave.

However, a French court - looking into the legality of such a move - said it was delaying its ruling until Wednesday or Thursday, thus automatically delaying the eviction.

The French government said the move aimed at reducing the population of the Jungle to 2,000 people and that it would only affect between 800 and 1,000 people who would be moved into refitted shipping containers set up nearby.

But according to Calais Migrant Solidarity, a charity working in the Calais camp, “ there are still more than 5,000 undocumented people. Many more are on their way."

The U.K.-based NGO Calais Action said the exact figure was 5497, with around 3,450 people living in the southern part, including 300 unaccompanied children.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Şubat 2016, 09:03