The German Chancellor has warned against “disaster” in Calais amid a surge in migrant arrivals.
The French president said his country was willing to work with Britain to prevent further mass migration, but he said the European Union (EU) would have to change its rules.
The influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East into Europe has forced France to impose travel restrictions and closed some of its borders.
The country has been overwhelmed by the crisis, with migrants crossing its borders to try to reach Germany and other EU nations.
Mrs Merkel told reporters in Brussels that she did not believe “we can continue to allow a mass migration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants”.
But she also said she had received assurances from the British prime minister that Britain would be willing to take in migrants from outside the EU if it agreed to work towards “safe, effective and orderly borders”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he hoped to see the EU re-open the border in Calais by the end of the year.
But he added that it would take time.
He said the border would have “to be reopened in a way that respects the human rights of migrants”.
He said France would “always welcome” the return of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, but would not take in “illegal migrants”.
French migrants queue at the border fence in Calais, France, January 29, 2021.
Reuters 1/11 France has rejected asylum claims from migrants, despite new EU guidelines saying migrants have a right to claim asylum French President Francois Hollande (L) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (2ndL) sign a declaration at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France in this handout photo from May 6, 2020.
The new rules are in line with those of the European Commission, which is responsible for Europe’s external border and the bloc’s rules on migration.
AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCKO FIFE/AFP/Getty Images) AFP/Getty 2/11 French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said his government would consider “every possible alternative” to the UK decision to restrict the flow of migrants to the EU A French Interior Ministry spokesman said on Sunday that he was “totally opposed” to a move to block access to the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK.
A decision to close the route between Calais and Dunkirk, south-west of London, could prompt migrants to try and reach the UK on the ferry from Calais, which has been closed for more than two years.
The government has said that the UK must be allowed to return migrants who have arrived in Calais without facing deportation, but that would not happen until a final decision has been made.
In response to a parliamentary question from Socialist party leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, Interior Minister Sylvie Gueant said: “We have a very difficult situation in Calais and it is not possible to close it to all migrants.
There are a lot of migrants, there are refugees, there is also a lot from Eastern Europe.”
The interior ministry said migrants would not be allowed access to shelters and shelters would remain open for the first few days of the closure.
“We will do everything possible to help these people,” Gueants spokesperson said.
The UK has not made a decision on whether to keep the UK’s “open border” with Europe open after Brexit, with the European Parliament saying a deal should be reached by June 7.
3/11 A new EU border-control plan is due to be unveiled on Monday, the first step towards formalising a system for processing asylum claims and refugees The European Commission has released a draft proposal on how the bloc will manage its migrant flow in the coming months.
The proposal, titled ‘A Europe of asylum’, is expected to be put to the European Council on Monday (22 January).
Under the plan, countries will have the ability to grant asylum to refugees and asylum seekers who are granted refugee status.
The EU currently allows asylum to be granted to people fleeing war and persecution in the country of their first arrival.
The plan will include the creation of a quota system and will involve EU states setting aside points for asylum claims made by refugees, migrants and those seeking economic asylum.
The idea of the new EU plan is to tackle the current crisis of migrants and asylum in Europe by prioritising countries in need of protection over those in Europe that are not ready to take them in.
“It is not only the European policy but also the UK policy which needs to change.
We are talking about a new Europe of refugees and refugees of all nationalities,” European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said.
“The European Union must be more ambitious than this.
We have a responsibility to see it through.”
In the UK, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the country would not deport anyone in the EU who had entered the country illegally and that there were “no plans” to expel asylum seekers.
The Home Office said it had “received no proposal to