PARIS (AP) — France will create 11,000 more places in centers for asylum seekers and housing for refugees as part of a plan to help deal with the flow of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, the country's interior minister said Wednesday.
Bernard Cazeneuve said the ambition of his plan is "to provide long-term solutions."
So far this year, around 100,000 migrants have entered Europe via Italy and Greece and riot police have forcibly removed dozens from the French-Italian border.
Cazeneuve said that France will open 4,000 more places in centers for asylum seekers by next year and another 5,500 places to house refugees who were granted legal status in France.
In addition, 1,500 new emergency places will be created as a temporary solution to house illegal migrants — especially in Paris and Calais, the French city on the English Channel where many migrants try to get across to Britain.
Last year, 64,800 migrants applied for asylum in France, while about 20,000 people were granted the legal status of refugee.
The country currently has 25,000 beds in centers for asylum seekers.
The government also plans to create a police task force to help dismantle smugglers networks, and to strengthen police controls in "strategic areas" such as the port of Calais, train stations and some roads and rail routes.
On Tuesday, European Union nations failed to reach an agreement over an emergency plan to share the burden of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, many of them coming from troubled countries such as Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.