Paris – AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated his desire to manage the migrant problem at the European level, expressing his hope for a new agreement between Europe and Africa to prevent migration.
“One of my goals during the French presidency (of the European Union) is to try to rebuild a peace and friendship agreement with Africa, one aspect of which will be how Europeans give African youth access to opportunities on their continent,” Macron said during a charity dinner organized in Paris by a network of Protestant businessmen.
“We have to think of a much better organized immigration policy with countries of origin, especially with Africa,” he added, calling for better protection against illegal immigration, systematic return of clandestine immigrants to their countries and a reform of the Schengen area.
“Immigration pressures are much stronger than in recent years, in societies that are experiencing an integration crisis, as well as people coming from some countries that are difficult to integrate,” Macron noted.
“We must improve integration, including for those who have been here for a long time, and at the same time try to prevent the arrival of new arrivals because this is intolerable for our communities and the European continent because a large majority of those who arrive to seek asylum are not eligible for asylum,” he said.
And he added, “Most of those who come to seek asylum come from countries with which we have perfect diplomatic relations and we give them tens if not hundreds of thousands of visas, and after a year they are settled, often in an illegal situation, and able to build a normal life.”
He continued, “I can be convinced as a person that in each individual case, they should be kept, but as a president I cannot say that this situation is viable, because this empties asylum of its meaning,” calling for a distinction between asylum and other forms of immigration.
The French president was responding to the president of the Protestant Union in France, Francois Claveroli, who reminded him of the “right of asylum” and expressed his regret that “the reception is refused in hate speeches.”