UK Calls Emergency Meeting Over Calais Chaos

The British government said on Thursday it had called a meeting of its emergency council to discuss the migrant crisis in the French port of Calais.

The UK Office of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street has called an emergency meeting to discuss the migrant crisis in Calais. Photo: Tom Robinson

The UK Office of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street has called an emergency meeting to discuss the migrant crisis in Calais. Photo: Tom Robinson

“The transport secretary will chair a meeting of Cobra (Cabinet Office Briefing Room) this afternoon to ensure we are working with the French and have the right plans in place if there are further wild cat strikes in Calais,” a spokesperson for Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday.

The move comes after footage filmed by motorists and TV crews at the scene earlier this week showed crowds of migrants trying to take advantage of heavy traffic caused by a strike called by French ferry workers, to board lorries struck in the long queues.

The strike virtually halted traffic through the Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France.

Cameron on Wednesday said the British government was looking at reinforcing its border controls with France at Calais after what he said were “unacceptable” scenes. However, the mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart retorted calling for her government to provoke a diplomatic incident, and accused Britain of turning its back on a shared problem that requires a humanitarian approach.

The situation has normalised in Calais after French authorities beefed up police presence. However, French unions are threatening further strikes. The issue revolves around planned lay-offs in the coming months.