France to double its border security forces to fight terrorism


President Emmanuel Macron announced a doubling of the security forces guarding France’s national borders and called for an in-depth reform of the European management of its external borders to strengthen the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism.

“Terrorist threats are everywhere, networks are all over the world,” Macron said on Thursday during a visit to the busy motorway crossing point between Spain and France at Le Perthus, east of the Pyrenees. “This means that Europe must step up its response.”

Mr Macron, who was speaking after three Islamist terrorist attacks in France and one in Austria in the past six weeks, said the number of police, gendarmes and troops deployed at France’s national borders in space Common Schengen in Europe would be doubled to 4,800 to fight against illegal immigration ”.

He also said he wanted a “deep” reform of the Schengen system, which brings together 26 EU countries and neighboring countries like Switzerland in a common immigration area for those coming from outside. He said he would make initial proposals on strengthening security at the December European Council and hoped to complete the reform during the French EU presidency in the first half of 2022.

Schengen countries are already allowed to temporarily reintroduce national border controls in space for reasons of internal security or “public policy”, and several – including France, Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries – did so to deal with terrorism and the coronavirus pandemic.

The four perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe were not of European origin. Two were illegal immigrants – the Pakistani who wounded two people with a knife outside the former offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and the 21-year-old Tunisian who killed three people in a church in Nice shortly after entering the city. ‘EU. by boat via the Italian island of Lampedusa. Both are in custody.

Samuel Paty, a French teacher targeted by Islamists for showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to a class on free speech, was beheaded in the street in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee with residency status, which was then culled. dead.

The Viennese attacker who killed four people in a rampage with an automatic rifle and handguns was an Austrian of dual North Macedonian nationality and had been identified by authorities as an Islamist extremist. He too was shot dead by the police.

Mr Macron and his government have said since last year that they will “take back control” of immigration policy by cracking down on illegal migrants, many of whom enter France via Spain and Italy, and fixing quotas for foreign workers.

Some of the proposals initially drew angry denunciations from left-wing politicians, but public moods have likely hardened after the recent attacks.

Ylva Johansson, the EU’s home affairs commissioner, told the French Senate on Thursday that migrants who do not have the right to stay in the EU should be returned to their countries of origin more quickly, given the risk a rise in populism and the discontent of European citizens.

On Thursday at the Spanish border, Macron warned against the rhetoric of far-right extremists and the confusion between legal and illegal immigration, saying his aim was not to change the French constitution but simply to make it better. apply existing laws.


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