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Britain Announces $24 Million for Calais Migrant Issues

  • Lisa Bryant

French President, Francois Hollande (l) and British Prime Minister David Cameron arrive for a press conference in Amiens, northern France, March 3, 2016.

French President, Francois Hollande (l) and British Prime Minister David Cameron arrive for a press conference in Amiens, northern France, March 3, 2016.

British Prime Minister David Cameron Thursday announced fresh funding to help resettle migrants in the French port city of Calais, as French and British leaders held talks about Europe's ongoing migrant crisis.

Prime Minister Cameron announced about $24 million in additional support for authorities in Calais, where migrants have clashed with demolition teams in a sprawling shantytown called The Jungle.

“The money will go toward efforts to move people from the camps in Calais to facilities elsewhere in France and we will fund joint work to return migrants not in need of protection to their home countries," said Cameron.

Cameron spoke after talks in northern France with President Francois Hollande amid deepening European divisions over how to handle the thousand of migrants who continue to arrive in the port city. European Council President Donald Tusk advised economic migrants not to come. Meanwhile, Hollande will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris Friday ahead of a key EU summit with Turkey next week to find some resolution.

In Calais, French authorities have been relocating Jungle residents — many against their will — to places where officials claim the conditions are more hygienic, more dignified and more amenable to having their cases treated.

Jungle residents are blocked from heading onward to Britain, although Cameron has said Britain will accept unaccompanied minors with family in his country. The situation in Calais has long been a source of tension between the two countries. Hollande’s economy minister added to those tensions by suggesting that Calais border controls could be dropped if Britain exited the EU.

President Hollande did not echo that warning, but did say financial and other consequences were inevitable if British voters backed an exit during a referendum in June.

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