Macron bets on shielding Schengen from the terrorist threat

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An “in-depth reform” of the Schengen Treaty to “be more consistent” and “better protect your common borders“is the last bet of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to fight against clandestine immigration and the Islamist terrorism. Macron has made the fight against jihadism a priority after the country has suffered three attacks in recent weeks.

There are networks of traffickers with ties to terrorists […] Terrorist acts can be carried out by people who use migratory flows, “said Macron during a visit to the Pertús border post, on the Franco-Spanish border, this Thursday.

Faced with such a threat, “we have decided intensify our border controls within the Schengen area “, explained the president. France will thus double its forces at the borders: in total “4,800 policemen, gendarmes and military” They will be mobilized to fight illegal immigration and its terrorist ramifications.

“The recent attacks force Europe to intensify the fight [contra el terrorismo]”Macron explained. In this context of global threat, the president will urge his partners to carry out a” deep review “of the Schengen area with the aim of strengthening border controls throughout Europe. The creation of one”real external border security police “ and the promotion of a “more integrated” decision-making system are two of the proposals that Macron will present at the European Council next December.

The ineffectiveness of border controls

The visit of the French president to the Franco-Spanish border and his different proposals coincide with the controversy surrounding the last attack perpetrated, on October 29, at the Notre-Dame basilica in the city of Nice. Armed with a knife, Brahim Aoussaoui killed three people. It is about a 21-year-old Tunisian man who clandestinely arrived in Europe through the Italian island of Lampedusa last September. Aoussaoui was identified and transferred to Bari, where the Italian authorities gave him an expulsion document and the order to leave Italy in a week. However, three weeks later he appeared in Nice to commit a terrorist attack.

The event put the focus on irregularities and ineffectiveness of border controls. An issue that shakes Italian politics, putting the main right-wing formations on a war footing: “This guy [Brahim Aoussaoui] should not have landed and should not be free to circulate in Europe and shed blood, “he wrote Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, on their social networks. “Conte [primer ministro italiano] and Lamorgese [ministra del Interior] they have a moral responsibility for what happened in Nice. They should apologize to the French and Italian people, “he continued.

Europe, in the center of the bullseye

A review that also finds an echo in France. “Nice has not been hit by being Nice, but by its proximity to the Italian border,” he said. Christian Estrosi, mayor of the city of the French Riviera, in an interview published this Thursday. For the councilor, the solution does not consist in “reforming in depth” the Schengen area, but “in suspend it for a while“. Estrosi, a member of the conservative Les Républicains party, would also be in favor of imposing systematic checks at French borders Y withdraw protection status from refugees “in case of crime”.

Beyond the controversy, the terrorist threat is increasing in Europe and the intelligence and cooperation services are in the spotlight for their mistakes. In addition to the last three attacks on French territory – the attack at the gates of the former headquarters of ‘Charlie Hebdo’, the murder of the history and geography professor Samuel Paty, and the attack on the Nice Basilica – the attempt –claimed by Islamic State– that this Monday ended the lives of four people in Vienna.

For Macron, this series of attacks has a single target: Europe. The fight against terrorism would thus require a joint response at European level. “We Europeans will do our best to stay united, to fight against the scourge of terrorism and, together, to move forward without renouncing any of our values“, said the president after presenting his condolences to his Austrian counterpart. For now, the Schengen treaty – an essential value of the EU – resists, whether based on reinforcements, reforms or shields.

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