Calais has vowed to ignore demands to provide hundreds of migrants with food, water and toilets less than a year after the notorious Jungle refugee camp was destroyed.
France's highest administrative court has ordered the town to install better facilities that its refusal so far to do so 'exposed them to inhuman and degrading treatment.'
But the mayor of the northern port community, Natacha Bouchart, has insisted the order will be ignored.
'The decision by the Council of State is unfair to the people of Calais because it threatens them with the emergence of yet another Jungle,' she said, referring to the sprawling migrant camp from which over 6,000 people were evacuated last year.
France's highest administrative court ruled the government and Calais must provide hundreds of migrants with drinking water, showers and toilets (file photo of 'The Jungle')
'In the absence of a national and European policy offering a global solution on controlling immigration, Calais will not implement the injunctions,' she declared in a statement.
'I cannot agree to set up facilities that would bring together the conditions for the creation of settlements, slums,' added the mayor, arguing that she is doing it to 'protect the Calaisian population.'
Calais deputy mayor Philippe Mignonet told RT the town's authorities had tried everything to help those arriving in the area.
But he added: 'A new jungle could emerge anytime if we are not careful. We refuse anyway what the court is saying. The mayor of Calais has already [provided] everything – showers, toilets, [a] camp. And we see all the time it’s a disaster.
'We do not have to suffer because of [a] kind of lack of courage in Europe that seems to be ignoring this situation.
The court order came hours before France announced it would open two shelters for asylum seekers sleeping rough around the northern French port, relenting to pressure to improve the lot of hundreds of people hiding for police.
Charities have been fiercely critical of the squalid conditions facing hundreds of migrants who have returned to the port city (file photo of 'The Jungle')
The centres will be located in the towns of Troisvaux and Bailleul, situated about 50 miles inland from Calais, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.
Each will have a capacity of 300, he told reporters, estimating the number of migrants currently in the northern port at between 350 and 400.
The Council of State earlier that day was ruling on an appeal by the interior ministry and the city of Calais against an injunction issued by a court