Refugees in the Calais camp clashed with police overnight on Wednesday (11 November), making it the third consecutive night of refugee-police drama in the northern French town. A spokesman for the French interior ministry said the refugees were being driven by outside parties, including militants from No Borders, a far-left group that opposes border and immigration controls.

"Behind it all there are a certain number of individuals, including No Borders militants, who are exploiting the misery and distress, who incite these migrants in distress and disarray, to riot, to commit violence against police, and to do whatever it takes at all costs to cross the border, especially to England," Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM TV.

He added that police were looking for these individuals, who were identified as being involved in the violence that took place over the past few nights. "There is at the same time distress, human misery and serious exploitation on the part of a certain number of individuals. And these same individuals were identified as being involved in the violence of the previous nights and we're looking to take them in for questioning," Brandet said.

Calais has long been an immigration flashpoint but in the past year it has become part of a wider pan-European crisis, with states struggling to agree on how to handle inflows of people fleeing conflicts or poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

Later on Wednesday, EU leaders were due to meet with African and Middle Eastern counterparts at a summit in Malta to discuss how to handle unprecedented refugee and migrant flows.