France welcomes EU’s draft Pact on Migration
European Union – France’s response to the Pact on Migration presented by the European Commission – Press release issued by M. Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, Mme Marlène Schiappa, Minister Delegate for Citizenship, attached to the Minister of the Interior, and M. Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Paris, 24 September 2020
France welcomes the European Commission’s presentation of its draft Pact on Migration.
Our common asylum and immigration policy must be reviewed in depth to learn lessons from the situation Europe has experienced since the 2015 crisis.
France sincerely wishes to see an ambitious reform, based on a fair balance between responsibility and solidarity. We must strongly step up controls on the EU’s external borders, both in order to curb illegal immigration, encouraged by the activities of smuggling networks, which we must combat tirelessly, and to offer people eligible for asylum better support when they arrive on European territory.
We must also prevent secondary movements, which have led to a doubling of the number of asylum applications recorded in France since 2015, making ours the country most in demand together with Germany. This requires clearer and more stringent rules to be set out on responsibility for handling applications.
This clarification of rules must be accompanied by a strengthening of solidarity mechanisms. The member States most directly affected by arrivals must not be left alone in the face of the human, health and security challenge they face.
France has always stepped up to support countries of first entry, and it is proud of this, whether it be on the basis of the Valletta mechanism with Malta and Italy or on the basis of ad-hoc contributions, as recently vis-à-vis Greece following the fire at the Moria camp. Each member State must play its part in the joint effort, be it through resettlement or, exceptionally, other types of compulsory contributions.
Finally, France believes the European Union must hold more demanding dialogue on immigration with the countries of origin and transit. The European cooperation strategy must fully incorporate this challenge, by helping to strengthen the political and economic stability of these partner countries and combat the criminal rings that profit from the distress of certain populations.
This reform is necessary and urgent. In coordination with the European Commission and our European partners – particularly Germany, which currently holds the European Union Council presidency – we shall seek to ensure that discussions on the text begin as soon as possible./.