Joanna York, The Connexion, August 17, 2021
President Emmanuel Macron said in a speech last night (August 16) that Europe must “protect itself from significant waves of illegal migrants” from Afghanistan, following the Taliban seizing power in the country.
Mr Macron said: “France will continue to fulfil its duty to protect those who are in the most danger. We will play our part in an organised and fair international effort.
“[But] Europe cannot take on the consequences from the current situation alone.”
He said illegal migration was “dangerous” for people who travelled to Europe and “contributed to trafficking of all kinds”.
Comments criticised online
The president’s comments were swiftly criticised by other politicians on social media, as the Twitter hashtag #EmmanuelLePen compared him to far-right politician and leader of Le Rassemblement National, Marine Le Pen.
Deputy mayor of Paris, Audrey Pulvar, said the president’s comments were similar to former President Nicolas Sarkozy comparing migrants from Syria entering Europe to a “water leak”.
“The political right is still the political right,” she said.
National Secretary for Europe Ecologie Les Verts, Julien Bayou, tweeted: “What about asylum? And the children, women and men who are fleeing terror?”
“France must play its part. We need a concrete plan.”