VIENNA/PARIS - Attacks on centres for asylum seekers in Austria are on course to double this year, according to government figures released on Saturday.

Twenty-four were recorded in the first half of 2016, compared with 25 for the whole of 2015, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in reply to a parliamentary enquiry.

The incidents ranged from arson to acid attacks to stones thrown through windows, or racist or Nazi graffiti and hate postings on the Internet. Opposition Green MP Albert Steinhauser, who made the enquiry, blamed the rise on the "heated political debate about asylum seekers."

"If in politics there is an atmosphere of intolerance... then it's no wonder that some people see such attacks as legitimate," Steinhauser said. Austria saw a record 90,000 people apply for asylum last year, one of the highest levels per capita in Europe.

The far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), in common with similar parties across Europe, has stoked concerns about the influx to boost its support.

Polls put the FPOe's Norbert Hofer neck-and-neck with independent ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen to be elected to the largely but not entirely ceremonial post of president on December 4.

A victory for Hofer would make him Europe's first elected far-right head of state since 1945.

Hollande says Calais migrants to be dispersed around France

French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday that thousands of migrants living in the shanty town near Calais known as the "Jungle" would be dispersed across the country, in an attempt to quell criticism of his handling of Europe's migrant crisis.

About 9,000 places will be made available at "reception and orientation centres" for migrants living in the camp which is near the port city in northern France, Hollande said on i-Tele, after visiting a facility in Tours, about 240 km (150 miles) south-west of Paris.

The migrants will be split into groups of 40 to 50 people for a limited period of three to four months, Hollande said. Those who fit the asylum criteria will be allowed to stay in France, while those who do not will be deported, he said.

"There should be no camp in France," the French president said, adding that the goal was to dismantle it completely.

The squalid camp, which Hollande is to visit on Monday, has become a symbol of the migrant crisis in France at a time when immigration is seen as a key theme in next year's presidential election.

Migrants from the camp regularly clash with the police as they try to make their way to Britain via the port.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy visited Calais this week, as he campaigns for a return to the presidency next year, promising to be particularly tough on immigration.

Some French opposition politicians have called for the ditching of an agreement under which border controls take place on the French side of the channel, saying Britain should handle the problem.

About 7,000 migrants live in the remaining northern half of the camp, up from 4,500 in June, according to local authorities, although humanitarian groups put the number closer to 9,000.

France dismantled the southern half of the camp in February and March and the government said it would shut down the rest, but gave no timeframe.