France will honour its commitments to accept more refugees
Migration/European Union/PNR – Interview given by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to France Info
Paris, 8 April 2016
Q. – Jean-Marc Ayrault, 30,000 more refugees for France?
THE MINISTER – Yes, that’s what was pledged.
Q. – There are already 80,000.
THE MINISTER – Every year 80,000 refugees – this is increasing in France – ask for asylum.
Q. – Can we do it?
THE MINISTER – Yes, we can do it. Germany took in more than a million refugees last year. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but the Germans are doing it. Firstly, it’s a matter of principle; these are people fleeing the war in Syria and who want to save themselves, and millions of them are in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. But just as many are coming to Europe and they can benefit from the right of asylum. So we must all play our part, and France’s position on this is clear: a decision was taken by Europe to share out refugees, and France committed itself and will honour its commitments.
Q. – And all our partners are going to follow that decision…
THE MINISTER – That’s where the difficulty lies; you’re right, there are countries which have said no.
Q. – There you are.
THE MINISTER – And yet it’s a collective decision. It raises the issue of how Europe works. Firstly, people say that Europe makes decisions and takes a long time to implement them. It’s a problem and applies to many areas – I’m thinking in terms of security, with the PNR, which the European Parliament is finally going to vote on in a few days –, but even so it’s incredible that it’s taking so long. It creates distrust towards Europe.
And then there’s the issue of exoneration from certain obligations, “we’ll take whatever suits us” – some countries do this when it comes to finance, in particular, which allows them to make progress – and then when it comes to collective duties, they’re no longer there, and that isn’t possible if we want to go on creating a strong Europe. (…)./.