Paris, February 6, 2016
Q. – Is Greece showing itself equal to the humanitarian emergency and the security crisis Europe is facing?
THE MINISTER – We haven’t come here to blame Greece, but on the contrary, through solidarity with it – to succeed in overcoming a migration crisis unprecedented since the creation of the European Union.
The Greek government has firmly committed itself to ensuring the hot spots are operational as soon as possible. However, there’s still a lot to do, particularly in terms of digital equipment. There’s an emergency. If we don’t take it into account, the consequences for Schengen will be disastrous.
Q. – Is free movement under threat?
THE MINISTER – It means getting [migration] flows under control. Disorder and chaos can lead only to the end of Schengen.
Q. – Is France supporting the Greeks enough?
THE MINISTER – We’re the first European country to implement the process of “relocating” migrants from Greece: nearly 100 are being accepted in France, out of 570 places already made known. We’ve also sent 60 members of staff to the Frontex agency. And next week, a French team specialized in detecting false documents will be deployed. France is taking action, on the front line.
Q. – There’s a persistent risk of terrorists blending in with the migrants…
THE MINISTER – That will be brought under control only if we implement the proposals we’ve made as quickly as possible. We must create the mechanism enabling hot spots to register all migrants, identify them with a high level of reliability and consult the European police databases.
Q. – How can the migration crisis be stopped?
THE MINISTER – Like the issue of terrorism, the migration crisis can be grasped only at European level. In France we have the requirement for a controlled approach. That’s why – instead of creating a large camp in Calais, which leads nowhere – I favour specifically-adapted reception arrangements, under the right conditions. This approach has already enabled nearly 4,000 people to be given shelter outside Calais, in reception centres for asylum seekers or reception and guidance centres. Moreover, we’re stepping up the fight against people-smuggling networks, as well as checks enabling us to deport those who are not eligible for asylum and therefore can’t remain in our country.
Q. – How do you feel about French people’s growing concern about migrants?
THE MINISTER – The migration crisis we’re going through means taking in those who are persecuted in their countries and deporting more economic migrants. If we want to deal humanely with the refugee issue, we need control. Let’s not constantly stir up fears in order to awaken the basest instincts./.