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Please don't shout at me, can someone explain the situation in calais

(66 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Sat 01-Aug-15 22:22:26

I've been on holiday and not keeping up with the news. BBC has stuff but has moved on from the basics and u can't seem to find a simple explanation.
Are these people mainly from somalia/Eritrea? Why has this all come to a head now, what is different from 3 months ago? And how does operation stack fit in?
I know there are lots of threads about the rights and wrongs, but I need to start at the basic facts. Thank you

StealthPolarBear Sat 01-Aug-15 22:35:34


Etak15 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:38:56

I want to know exactly the same thing! I haven't been on hols but so no excuse for not knowing have I just missed the beginning somehow?

HarrietVane99 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:45:21

Operation Stack is because the nightly attempts by the migrants to get into the tunnel are disrupting freight services through the tunnel, meaning lorries have to wait to cross the Channel. Several migrants have been killed in the process of, it's thought, trying to jump on trains. At the same time, strikes by French workers are causing disruption to ferry services.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 01-Aug-15 22:45:32

My understanding is that the French port staff went on strike causing queues of lorries whereupon the migrants who have been in the area have had more opportunity to target waiting lorries. I think that's part of it. The ferry port has beefed up security so the migrants have all converged on the Tunnel.
The numbers might have increased because of a surge in migrants through the Med and the war in Syria.

StealthPolarBear Sat 01-Aug-15 22:46:57

Thank you. So the strike has opened up opportunities.

GinandJag Sat 01-Aug-15 22:47:20

There's more than one thing going on.

There's the pseudorefugee crisis coupled with completely separate industrial action.

Last week, farmers were blockading the port in protest of falling produce prices, due primarily to sanctions against Russia which they knew little of when they planted their crop. This week, it has been port workers turn to strike (I don't know why - it's summer and it's France).

The migrant issue is because they want to come to the UK rather than stay in continental Europe. Genuine asylum seekers would seek asylum in the first safe country, most likely Italy. By proceeding to Calais, they are proving themselves to be economic migrants. They want to come to the UK because we are probably the most tolerant society on the planet, for the English language, the benefits system and education.

Callmecordelia Sat 01-Aug-15 22:49:19

This all started at the end of June, when Eurotunnel were told they had to sell their ferry company My Ferry Link to DFDS. DFDS promptly gave redundancy notices to 400 ferry workers based in Calais who went on strike. This caused the first few times Operation Stack was implemented.
Stack is put on whenever there is a reduction in cross channel freight capacity.

With the ferry port shut, migrants had more opportunities to reach lorries and make it across either through the tunnel or to Dover. When the first migrant died in the tunnel it was shut for two days, causing even more stack problems.

Stack has been on almost permanently now for over five weeks because there are two trashed My Ferry Link boats sitting in Calais reducing capacity, and migrant incursions into the tunnel.

There has been an increase in migrant activity along with the increased opportunity, and therefore there are more attracted to Calais now.

The migrants come from many countries - I believe many from Syria as well as the countries you mention.

There's not much mention of the industrial dispute in any of the reporting. Asylum seekers make better copy.

Hannahouse Sat 01-Aug-15 22:54:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StealthPolarBear Sat 01-Aug-15 22:55:37

Thank you everyone.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 01-Aug-15 23:01:54

It should be said as well that the migrants are generally fleeing pretty awful circumstances. Not all of them are from war zones but their homes aren't somewhere you'd choose to be. If they get across the Channel then they will probably just disappear into the black economy rather than seek asylum. Or if they do seek asylum then they can't be returned to France because there's no proof they came from France or to their stated home country because they're undocumented and the UK is often too decent to send them back to Syria etc.

Diamondsmiles Sat 01-Aug-15 23:06:58

Hannahouse pretty much summed it up there

WetAugust Sat 01-Aug-15 23:12:28

The problem with migrants at Calais has been going on for years. However the situation has deteriorated because there are more migrants in the make- shift camp that the press call 'The Jungle' due to increased numbers of migrants arriving from outside the EU and migrating towards the Calais in an attempt to get across the Channel and into the UK, instead of claiming asylum in the first safe country they enter, as the law expects them to.

Meanwhile the French ferry workers have been striking and blocking the roads to the port with burning tyres. The roadblocks then cause a tailback of lorries, giving the migrants the opportunity to try to stow away on the lorries while they are standing on the roads waiting for the strikers protest to be dispersed

The migrants have also realised that they have more chance of getting into the UK by using the Channel Tunnel route and by coordinating their attempt do large numbers of them all try at once, which means the security staff are too few to turn them all back, so several hundred have managed to get into the UK thus week in freight trains as well as in lorries. A couple of migrants have also been killed in train accidents

The attempts by migrants to get through the tunnel mean that train services have had to be suspended for lengthy periods, which means that lorries hoping to use Eurostar train then end up piled up in the approach road, which makes them more susceptible to migrants hoping to stow away in them.

The suspension of Eurostar means the lorries that are trying to leave the ÙK on the train to Europe cannot do do and are parked up on the M20 motorway leading fine to Dover in what's called Operation Stack. That causes transport problems for the local businesses in Kent as vehicles are diverted to other routes

Cameron thinks the solution us more sniffer dogs to find hidden migrants and more fencing and more security guards

Which is ignoring the real problem that the migrants should not be there at all if France processed their claims for asylum and granted those who qualified for asylum and deported those who were just economic migrants. But France is nit doing that as these migrants have passed through many EU countries before getting to France, and should have claimed asylum in the first safe country. France would rather the migrants did manage to get to the UK and no longer be France's problem. Cameron us unable to put pressure on the French to process the migrants claims in case France tells us that the border can no longer be in France and must return to the UK side if the tunnel. If that happened all the migrants could just turn up in the UK and the UK would then inherit France's problem The whole situation is crazy

The migrants come from Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, sub-Saharan Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Pakistan etc. Some are genuine asylum seekers (but should have sought asylum on entry to the EU) while others are simply economic migrants.

The situation is exacerbated because the EU countries who first receive the migrants e g Italy or Greece are nit or cannot afford to process their applications and the migrants then use the fact that there are no borders within the EU to travel to other EU countries instead if claiming asylum in the first safe country they came to.

It's all very complicated

Samcro Sat 01-Aug-15 23:14:47

AND the Migrants are getting more "violent" sadly

achieve6 Sat 01-Aug-15 23:22:47

WetAugust, thank you, that was more helpful than other stuff Ive read.

WetAugust Sat 01-Aug-15 23:31:35

Thank you

WetAugust Sat 01-Aug-15 23:32:10

Thank you

Hannahouse Sat 01-Aug-15 23:33:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WetAugust Sat 01-Aug-15 23:38:48

Ahh. I remember that 'global' description was also used to describe 'global financial crisis' as in "not our problem"

GarminGirl Sat 01-Aug-15 23:42:37

Global? But they are all coming here, to our tiny island

HarrietVane99 Sat 01-Aug-15 23:45:15

Also, there are organised gangs involved in trafficking the migrants from their home countries to Europe. Many of the migrants, and their families, may have paid large sums of money to traffickers, who have held out promises of a better life in the UK. There is organised crime and exploitation going on alongside the genuine refugees, and it s virtually impossible for the authorities to determine who is genuine and who isn't. The migrants are advised to destroy all their identification so it's impossible to discover age, place of origin, etc, or to confirm their stories.

cruikshank Sat 01-Aug-15 23:46:31

Genuine asylum seekers would seek asylum in the first safe country, most likely Italy.

I understand that they are required to apply for asylum in the first safe country, but I don't think that not doing so makes them any less genuine. Think about it. Being a refugee is a terrible position to be in. Not only will you have left your home because of a threat to your person/life/family, but you have left your country, the place where your entire identity is bound up in. You are stateless. I don't think it's such a big ask to be allowed the one last scrap of self-determination left to you in that you have some decision as to where you live next. Maybe it's somewhere you spent a nice holiday in, or you have a couple of family members or friends or even acquaintances there. You may well have learned the language at school. You may feel some kind of affinity for another country for lots of reasons. Wanting to cling onto that does not make you a non-genuine asylum seeker, imho.

Just imagine, for example, if there was a war in the UK and you had to get out quick. Would you want to pitch the rest of your life in France, or is there some other country in the world where you have some kind of tie to?

GraceGrape Sat 01-Aug-15 23:49:01

Garmin, that is simply not true. Other European countries, including France, take far more asylum seekers than the UK.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 01-Aug-15 23:50:19

Global? But they are all coming here, to our tiny island

Er... No they're not!

GarminGirl Sat 01-Aug-15 23:53:06

Oh ok.... So which other countries are they stowing away in lorries/jumping under trains to get to, en masse?

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