As European countries continue to grapple with how to handle migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the French government has decided to build new housing projects to accomodate a number of them: among these units, 5,000 will be allocated to people who have been granted asylum in France; 4,000 to asylum seekers and the last 1,500 to illegal immigrants as emergency shelters.
Cazeneuve says the crisis is so serious that France has to adapt to the current situation, by implementing concrete and realistic solutions to the problem.
The number of asylum seekers has nearly doubled in France over the past seven years, with their number reaching over 66,000 in 2013. This has resulted in a severe lack of housing facilities, leaving half of those seeking asylum to fend for themselves, living in slums or squats.
It takes two years to process a request for asylum, but a legislation aims to shorten this wait to nine months within two years.
France’s announcement comes as Italy has been applying more pressure on neighbouring countries to welcome some of the migrants arriving on its shores. European interior ministers met in Luxembourg on Tuesday, but failed to reach an agreement for quotas to redistribute migrants across the EU.
More than 100,000 migrants have reached Europe so far this year, with an estimated 60,000 arriving in Italy alone.