Belgium reinstates France border checks to stop migrants



23 Feb 2016 - Belgium on Tuesday said it had temporarily reintroduced border controls with France to halt the arrival of migrants from the Calais "Jungle" camp, in a new blow to the EU's passport-free travel area.

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

The move comes as French authorities delayed its ruling on the demolition of half of the refugee camp in Calais, just hours before a deadline for residents to be evacuated.

The French authorities have been gradually trying to shut down the Jungle, encouraging residents to head for proper centres elsewhere in France.

However, many of the residents have family or community ties to Britain and are reluctant to give up their dream of crossing the Channel.

A campaign spearheaded by celebrities such as actors Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch has called on the British government to let children from the camp be reunited with families in Britain and take responsibility for the "humanitarian crisis" in the Jungle.

Calais town hall has claimed the eviction is in response to "abuses" committed by migrants that had led to "an aggravated level of tension" in recent weeks.

It said camp residents were throwing stones and other projectiles at lorries and security forces on a daily basis, but also condemned members of far-right groups who loiter outside the Jungle to beat up migrants.

On Monday, six migrants were each given a month in prison for occupying a ferry in northern France in a protest calling for Britain to allow asylum seekers in.

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By: gemini (10209.50)

Tags: Belgium reinstates France border checks to stop migrants

Location: Belgium