Macron slams 'defeatist' attitudes used towards EU
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The French European Affairs Minister told Europe 1 he believes reform of the Schengen rules with the introduction of sanctions for those states who fail to comply is the necessary next step for the bloc.
He said: “We must reform the Schengen rules, so that a country which is not serious about border control can be sanctioned or penalised.”
But the proposal was dismissed by Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois who suggested the solution to freedom of movement in the EU and border controls is to leave Schengen altogether.
He blasted: “The absurd reasoning of the Europeanists.
“Rather than seriously controlling its own borders, and therefore leaving Schengen, other countries should be sanctioned.
“The EU does not just promote illegal immigration, it decides what is legal.”
Immigration has been at the heart of the political discourse in France recently as candidates prepare for the 2022 presidential elections.
Former EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who is yet to declare his candidacy for the elections but is believed to be preparing to run against Emmanuel Macron, proposed a halt to all non-EU immigration into France for three to five years.
In what is seen as a pitch to lead the centre-right Les Republicains into next year’s presidential elections, Mr Barnier said in comments aimed at sapping support from rival candidate Marine Le Pen: “I haven’t changed my method.
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“The problems of immigration are not moderate.”
He added: “I say as the political man that I am to look at the problems as there are, as the French live it, and to find solutions.
“I think we must take the time of three to five years to suspend immigration.”
But he clarified how he was not “talking about students, not talking about refugees.”
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Mr Barnier stressed the importance of treating people seeking asylum and help on Europe’s shores “with humanity, with rigor.”
The Frenchman added: “But we must discuss with our neighbours the Schengen question, that we must apply border checks.
“That we have to be more rigorous.”
Mr Barnier has previously warned that France could follow the UK out of the EU amid “social unrest and anger” over immigration and Europe’s failure to defend its borders.
Next year’s presidential elections are already proving tricky for Emmanuel Macron.
Since her failure in 2017 to take on Emmanuel Macron in the presidential elections, Marine Le Pen has been in a constant process of transformation.
In a poll published by Ifop at the beginning of April, Ms Le Pen was predicted to receive 28 percent of the votes in the first round of the 2022 elections – ahead of Mr Macron’s 24 percent.
In October the score was 24 for Le Pen and 23percent for the current president.
The regional elections on 13 and 20 June will be a litmus test for the sovereignist party.
Fabien Engelmann, who has been the mayor of Hayange (Moselle) since 2014 and RN regional councillor for the Grand-Est region told Euractiv: “All elections are a springboard, the RN should win one or more regions to show what it is capable of.”
He claimed that abandoning the idea of leaving the eurozone, adopted in 2017 but Ms Le Pen, was a good sign for the party.
He added: “We can stay in the European Union, it is up to each national sovereignist party to send a maximum number of MEPs to Brussels to defend its vision.”
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