We'll close the Calais Jungle this year, says French President Francois Hollande as he reveals plans to move 9,000 migrants to centres all across France and calls the camps 'inhumane'
- Francois Hollande was at one of France's 164 migrant reception centres
- He said he intends to close the 'Jungle' camp in Calais by end of the year
- He said migrants would be given up to four months to seek asylum
Mr Hollande said conditions in the Calais camp were 'not acceptable' and 'extremely difficult', especially for those who fled war to get there.
Mr Hollande, who will visit the camp on Monday, insisted that 'we cannot have such camps in France'.
He said his country must show it is 'capable of being dignified, humane and responsible.'
The 'Jungle' has become a symbol of his government's failure to tackle Europe's migrant crisis, and a target of criticism from conservative and far-right rivals seeking to unseat him in France's presidential election next year.
The reception centres will hold 40-50 people for up to four months while authorities study their cases individually, he said.
Migrants who do not seek asylum will be deported.
The French president, who visited one of France's 164 migrant reception centres in the central city of Tours today, said the 'Jungle' did not give a firm timeline for when the camp would be shut down.
His plans to relocate migrants to towns across France has drawn the ire of local conservative and far-right politicians who said it will increase tensions.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy - who is campaigning for a return to the presidency promising a tough stance on immigration - visited Calais this week.
He said Britain must take responsibility for the refugees at the camp and that France needed to take back control of its borders.
Speaking to local police officers, lorry drivers, and tourism officials, Mr Sarkozy promised he would put an end to their misery, saying: 'I want to take action...I will never be a passive president.'
Mr Hollande criticised that resistance and called for more solidarity, pointing out neighbouring Germany has taken in one million migrants compared to the 9,000 being relocated from Calais.
Just six months ago French authorities demolished the southern part of the camp.
Demolition crews entered the encampment and started clearing the southern section as migrants were relocated to £20million purpose-built accommodation.
But refugees complained it resembled a 'detention centre' and was a ploy to prevent them trying to reach Britain.
As such, they simply moved into other areas of the 'Jungle' - which has now swelled again to 9,000.
The squalid camp is rife with disease, violence and prostitution and has a become a 'no-go zone' for police who are frequently attacked with iron bars and rocks when they try to enter.
Just last week French police use tear gas to repel 300 migrants as they tried to storm a road leading to the French port.
The disturbances, which went on for about 90 minutes, came as work continued on a controversial British taxpayer-funded £2m wall in the area.
Elsewhere today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Vienna on Saturday to discuss the refugee crisis with leaders of Hungary and Bulgaria.
Hungary's premier Victor Orban has been openly critical of Mrs Merkel's approach and has taken a tough line on refugees trying to enter the country.
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said the aim of the talks was to 'accelerate' a solution to the crisis as there was 'no common European line' at present.