The school year begins on Calais by an announcement of national police union Alliance relayed by Le Figaro: there are 10,000 “migrants” in Calais.
This figure is not a priori extraordinary, it joins the one of the last census conducted by the associations. But it is much higher than that given by the Prefecture of Pas-de-Calais (6900 people), which is in principle based on counts … by the police.
Clearly, either Alliance is bluffing and throws that number up to dramatize its comeback announcement. Either Alliance thinks the census made by the associations are more reliable than those of the police. Either the police counts are convergent with those of the associations and the prefecture hides the reality and lies intentionally.
Apart from this block launched in the quarrels of numbers, the majority union of the National Police takes over the positions of the political right wing on the issue of migrants in Calais: destruction of the shantytown and renegotiation of the Touquet agreements. And it is indeed announcements that precede the presidential and parliamentary elections, which refer to the complex relationship between police unions and political powers.
But destroying the shantytown to eliminate what is visible, and renegotiating the Franco-British agreements on border management to move the “problem” on the neighboring territory is only a campaign boniment at a time when they promise they will shave for free and remove all problems.
The two questions to be answered are what happens to the people – who will not disappear even if the authorities destroy for the umpteenth time their homes – and how to manage this border – what effectively implies a discussion, perhaps rough, with the neighboring state ?
In relation to these two questions, the government has imprisoned itself, denying the reality about the real situation and the number of people, and immediately closing the door to any changes in the status quo of the Franco-British agreements despite the opportunity opened up by the vote for brexit. And it only has a few months to change course and show its ability to develop workable solutions.