Romina McGuinness, Express, April 28, 2017
French presidential favourite Emmanuel Macron, the leader of the centrist En Marche! party, has pledged to renegotiate the controversial Le Touquet accord that gives British border officials the right to carry out immigration checks in the northern French port town of Calais.
Mr Macron, the winner of the first round of France’s two-stage presidential election, told the French private TV channel TF1: “There is no easy solution to the migrant crisis.
“If there was one, it would have been found.”
The real problem, he continued, is migrants who come to France and who live in the hope of crossing the Channel to the UK.
The left-centrist candidate added: “I want to put the Le Touquet border deal back on the table. It must be renegotiated, especially the parts that deal with the fate of isolated child migrants.”
Mr Macron added that he wanted to “limit” illegal immigration, but said asylum applications in France took “too long” to be processed, and that French officials “did not know” how to send failed asylum seekers back to their home country.
He said: “Asylum seekers should be told whether their claim has been accepted or rejected within six months or less of the lodging of the application.
“People fleeing war-torn countries have the right to seek sanctuary in France. It is inhumane to let millions of Syrian take risks only for them to have their asylum claim rejected once they get here.”
Mr Macron, a former economy minister under outgoing President François Hollande, added that he would adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards security and recruit 10,000 new police officers, before vowing to wage a relentless war against Islamic State (ISIS).
He said: “The fight against terrorism is first and foremost a global battle against ISIS and against all jihadist groups who want to attack France…. I will increase intelligence spending, because intelligence is the best weapon against terrorism. I will also create an anti-ISIS task force this summer.”
Mr Macron also said that left- and right-wing officials who were not calling on voters to cast their ballot in his favour in the May 7 runoff election were “choosing to help” his right-wing opponent Marine Le Pen, before asking those who initially backed centre-right candidate François Fillon and left-wing firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon to help him win the presidency by voting for him in the runoff.
Mr Macron won the first round of voting last week with 24.1 per cent of the vote, whilst Mrs Le Pen came second with 21.3 per cent of the vote.