Monday, January 17, 2022

French presidential candidate says stronger EU borders are needed

French presidential candidate Valerie Pecres has stressed the need for stronger European borders during a speech in Athens

ATHENS, GREECE – French presidential candidate Valerie Pecrese on Friday stressed the need for stronger European borders during a visit to Greece that will also see her visit a camp for asylum seekers on an Aegean island whose Used by migrants entering Europe from neighboring Turkey.

“There is no Europe without borders, and the question of borders is absolutely vital to the formation of European power today,” said Pecras, standing at the foot of the ancient Acropolis in Athens.

Pecresse is trying to elevate her stature as a potential politician by traveling abroad, and trying to establish her credentials as tough on emigration as she tries to lure voters away from the influential French. Is.

“It’s not Europe’s fortress at all, but it’s not Europe’s supermarket either. When we need entry points, that means there are doors. There are doors and you have to go through the door, and for me, that Mine is the European model,” she said at the start of her two-day trip.

“It is a model that when we want to enter someone’s house, we knock on the door and ask permission to enter. This is not a model where everything is open to all.”

Polls show that a third of voters could choose one of two far-right candidates in the first round of voting on April 10 – Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemour, both of whom made anti-immigrant rhetoric central to their strategies. Have given.

Macron’s government has also sought to limit immigration, call for stricter EU rules and intensify efforts against migrant trafficking.

Purchasing power and the pandemic are other major voter concerns.

Pecresse met with Greece’s centre-right Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday, and was to visit the eastern island of Samos on Saturday, where he will visit a camp for asylum seekers. The camp opened late last year to replace a dramatically overcrowded facility on the island, where thousands of people lived in the dirt, most of them in a shack that had grown up around the official camp.

Greece has been one of the main entry points into the European Union for people fleeing poverty and war in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with most smugglers using smugglers to access the Greek islands near the Turkish coast.

But the government has cracked down on this practice and the number of arrivals has come down. Greek officials have faced intense criticism for calling what rights groups say are pushback – illegal summary deportations of recent arrivals without permission to apply for asylum. The government denies the practice, but says it vigorously patrols its land and sea borders, and denies entry to people seeking to cross the border illegally.

The French presidential candidate praised Greece’s asylum policy, given the dramatic reduction in the number of arrivals.

“What Greece has done in terms of borders is absolutely exemplary,” she said. “He has chosen to be both determined and human.”


Charlton contributed from Paris.


Follow Associated Press’s global migration coverage at


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