Ministro Pirmininko kalba apie pabėgėlių priėmimą Prancūzijoje ir Europoje (2015 m. rugsėjo 16 d.) [fr]

2015 m. rugsėjo 16 d. Ministras Pirmininkas Manuel Valls Nacionalinėje Asamblėjoje pasakė kalbą apie pabėgėlių priėmimą Prancūzijoje ir Europoje.

Hôtel de Matignon, 16 September 2015

Speech by Manuel Valls, Prime Minister
The reception of refugees in France and in Europe

French National Assembly
Wednesday, 16 September 2015

President of the National Assembly,
Ministers,
Deputies,

Europe is facing a migration crisis of exceptional scale and gravity.

It is the consequence of global imbalance and disorder: conflicts, either overt or bubbling under the surface, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan. Countries in a state of collapse – I am thinking particularly of Libya here. Climate change and its consequences: floods, drought and the resulting shrinkage of farming land. And lastly, the difficult living conditions, poverty and hunger that drive so many people to leave home in search of places that promise something better. In the main, I wish to recall here, from countries of the South to other countries of the South.

This migrant crisis, the largest in Europe since the Second World War, confronts the European Union with a historic duty. It also requires France to meet the standards set by its rank, set by its History. Gripped by the violence of the reality, by the harshness of the images, by emotion – we all have in mind the picture of Alan, and I could speak of all the other victims we have not seen, another 22 dead in a shipwreck in Turkey yesterday – our country, it appears to me, has once again demonstrated that it is capable of the very best.

There is the mobilization of recent weeks, to which I shall return. But well before that, the President of the Republic and the government had already taken the full measure of the challenge and we took considered action. France, loyal to its values, knows what founds its identity. It considers the situation with very great clarity of mind. The refugee issue, because it affects lives, personal destines and hopes, requires clarity of thought and a sense of duty.

The right of asylum, ladies and gentlemen of the National Assembly, is a fundamental right of which the source is to be found in our History, in our international undertakings and in our obligations to the Community. It is France’s mission to welcome any person who is persecuted for their ideas or who is exposed to risks to their physical integrity.

The French government, irrespective of the circumstances, will not call that right into question, which is a matter of honour and a reference for liberty for all those around the world, men and women, suffering from violence and oppression.

Emotion can move mountains. We feel that emotion. It gives us strength of course. But it cannot be the sole guide for government action. We owe those fleeing war, torture and persecution more than noble sentiments. Sentiments that can in fact change radically according to circumstances. We must act in accordance with principles, humanity and solidarity, but also with seriousness, firmness and control.

We need hearts, naturally, but ours hearts must be guided by intelligence. Hearts that are firm. Hearts that are clear-sighted.

1. An unparalleled migration crisis

Such clarity of mind, standing before the national representative assembly and through you, before the French people, must begin with the precise naming and description of circumstances.

A. The three migration routes to the European Union

In the last two years the numbers of illegal immigrants arriving in the Schengen Area has increased spectacularly.

In 2014, Italy was essentially the major focus of attention. The count in Italy was 170,000 illegal arrivals, 60% of the European total.

Since the beginning of this year, while the numbers of immigrants on the Italian route, most coming from Libya, have declined slightly, two new routes, used by massive numbers of people, have opened up. The first from the Balkans, with a 15-fold increase in volume, and the other from Turkey, travelled by Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans.

From mid-July 2015, this latter flow has drastically intensified, increasing by a factor of ten compared with 2014. In all, there have been 230,000 arrivals since January.

Yesterday, the Frontex agency estimated the number of people illegally crossing the external borders of the Union at 500,000. Naturally, the countries of Europe are affected by this in very different ways, in the first place due to geographical considerations. Germany is very much affected, and the talk is of possibly a million arrivals, compared with 400,000 already in Germany in 2014. The situation in France is completely different at this stage, with numbers of asylum applications remaining virtually unchanged at around 65,000, even falling marginally in 2014. But it is nevertheless true that the entire continent is under unimaginable pressure.

B. Refugees, migrants, illegal immigration: choosing the right words

Clarity also means analysing these flows and arriving at the right diagnosis in order to take the right action. There are refugees from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and Sudan who need protection. There are also migrants who do not have refugee status. They come for example from the Balkans, Albania and Kosovo, safe countries therefore, the Union’s neighbours. They also come from West Africa. The vast majority of these migrants fall into the category of illegal immigrants. They must therefore be sent back to their countries of origin, respectfully of their rights, and in accordance with the law, but with firmness. If not, we would be undermining the very principle of the right of asylum.

I am aware that in this debate there are some who propose to create a new status limited to refugees fleeing war, a status that would last as long as the conflict. I consider all proposals with interest. But why create something that exists already, in the form of temporary European protection or subsidiary protection under French law? Those who set out by this means to undermine the right of asylum are in error. They should reread the European directive in question, since such a directive does in fact exist. For my part, I have reread it. Under no circumstances can the granting of temporary protection deprive an individual of the right to seek asylum. Those who obtain it – that is what asylum means – can decide to stay because they are now living their lives here, or to return to their country of origin when conditions permit. We must avoid adding confusion to a debate that deserves clarity.

Once again, we need clarity of thought, method and a sense of responsibility. Because, faced with these destroyed lives, with images that shock our consciences to the core, faced with the numbers, our fellow citizens – I know it and you know it – have been beset once again in recent days by feelings of deep unease, concern and a sense of disorder. And disorder in the world all too often comes from disorder in messages and adopted positions. The disorder in positions is a disorder of moral values. To the point that some wish – how could we ever accept it! – to sort refugees by religion, choosing between Christians and Muslims. That is not what France is! That is not what asylum is!

France must continue to be in the eyes of the world a beacon that does not waver in the storm, that does not yield to the temptation of turning a blind eye, of the easy option. There are some who say: “We must keep them out”. To say that is to close one’s eyes to refugees dying on our doorstep. Others say quite the opposite: “We must open our arms”. To say that is to close one’s eyes to reality and the difficulties in French society.

My duty, and the duty of the government, is to think clearly, because we are responsible, we are governing the country.

2. Unending, uninterrupted action

Our duty is to take action. Considered action.

A. External action

First of all, action internationally. We are intervening militarily in Africa, in Iraq and in Syria. We are fighting barbarity in order to come to the aid of peoples, to restore peace. As I said here yesterday, and as all have said: our armed forces, our diplomacy, under the leadership of the President, are fully mobilized. Because, as we know, the solution to the refugee crisis lies essentially in those countries.

B. Action in Europe

But the solution is also in Europe. As early as August 2014 – it is important to remember this since a little memory is useful in any debate – the Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, at the request of the President of the Republic, on visits to a number of European capitals, urged Europe to take steps in view of the increasing seriousness of the migration situation. Not in August 2015, in August 2014. We put forward at that time a roadmap based on our principles of humanity, solidarity, control and firmness. That roadmap proposed for the first time a holistic solution addressing all the issues.

First, control of the external borders of the European Union – that is obviously the key issue – by strengthening the action of Frontex in the Mediterranean, gradually replacing Italy’s Mare Nostrum operation. Because Mare Nostrum was a courageous initiative on the part of Italy acting alone to save lives, but which resulted in greater numbers rescued and greater numbers of deaths – the people-smugglers seized on such rescues at sea as a pretext for stepping up their deadly traffic. Additionally, control of external borders based on more effective identification – in accordance with the Dublin regulation – I stress this – of individuals eligible for international protection. And lastly, based on a more active policy of returning immigrants where – I repeat – they are not eligible for asylum.

The second component of that same roadmap: a determined effort to combat illegal immigration organizations, people-smugglers, traffickers – the slave-masters of modern times, as described by one of you.

The third component: stronger cooperation between the European Union and countries of origin and transit, in order to stabilize populations, to assist them in controlling their borders and, of course, to provide the indispensable humanitarian aid.

The roadmap we put forward made a substantial contribution to the policy defined by the European Union. This was formalized particularly in the European Agenda on Migration of 13 May last. Since then, our position, despite the emotive context, the tumult, the debate, has remained unchanged.

But once again, we have an obligation to speak the truth. We may regret that the new awareness of France, the action taken by France, the proposals made by France were not sufficiently shared by others, most notably at the most recent meeting of the European Council in June.

C. Internal action

And finally, it is internally that we must take action. We have reformed the law on asylum. Nobody had done so to this extent. The situation – all agreed on this – was not tenable. Demand had risen by 73% between 2008 and 2012. We set out to shorten the time taken in processing, from twenty-four to nine months for rulings on applications, in order to reduce the pressure on our reception facilities, to return to a more effective procedure offering greater human dignity. This also means those refused asylum must be returned to their countries of origin.

This legislation, handled by Bernard Cazeneuve, is the result of extensive preparatory work, based most notably on the national bipartisan consultation organized by myself – not in 2015, not in 2014, but in 2013! as Minister of the Interior, in conjunction with UDI senator Valérie Letard and socialist deputy Jean-Louis Touraine. I invite you, ladies and gentlemen of the National Assembly, to move forward on these issues together because the national representative assembly and, by the same token, France are stronger when there is a need to convince Europe of the rightness of our position.

You also passed on first reading the bill for legislation on foreign nationals as a necessary adjunct to the reform of asylum. You will debate this once again this autumn. Its aim is to restore France’s attractiveness for international talent by providing for multiyear residence permits. But it also means greater effectiveness in combating every aspect of illegal immigration: fraudulent documents, exploitation of procedures, people-smuggling organizations.

Without waiting for the entry into force of this legislation, the government has stepped up its efforts to counter such organizations. Bernard Cazeneuve has frequently reminded us of the figures in recent days: 177 such groups have been taken down since the beginning of the year, which represents over 3,300 individuals, compared with 1,800 in Germany over the same period.

In Calais – as has been mentioned this afternoon – police numbers have been increased fivefold in three years and 42,000 arrests have been made since June. And this effort must continue, because we are well aware of the problems. An agreement has been reached with the United Kingdom, which will contribute funding of up to €35 million – as Bernard Cazeneuve reminded us a few minutes ago – to enhance the security of transport facilities and support humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable migrants. This commitment, now given by the United Kingdom, thus restores the balance of the Le Touquet Agreements.

In Menton and the Alpes-Maritimes, which I visited on 16 May, as the Minister of the Interior also has on a regular basis, controls have been strengthened in accordance with the Schengen Agreement. Over a period of eight months 20,450 individuals have been arrested. This firm stance is bringing results, despite the context and despite the difficulties. The migrant flows at Menton have stabilized. But we are fully aware of the challenges that remain to be overcome.

Last spring we restored temporary controls on this border and will not hesitate to do so again, as is permitted by the Schengen rules, on every occasion that circumstances so require; if necessary, in the coming days or the coming weeks.

I know how demanding this policy to control illegal immigration is and the effort it requires from the police and Prefecture staff, and I wish to pay tribute to them. In 2014, 15,000 deportations were carried out, a figure likely to rise to 16,000 in 2015. Deportations to countries outside the European Union – the most difficult – were up 40% in 2014. This is an unprecedented effort. An effort that is indispensable if we are to apply a sustainable policy on migration, and if we wish to preserve the right to asylum.

Given this additional burden on our services, and in order to avoid compromise to the systems for combating terrorism and crime, we have decided, in response to a proposal from the Minister of the Interior, to increase the numbers of police and gendarmerie, and in particular the border police, by 900. In total – ladies and gentlemen of the National Assembly – remember this figure – 5,330 additional posts in the police and gendarmerie have been created since 2012. We are truly seeking to ensure the safety of our citizens.

Yes, we are taking considered action in every domain, and I wish to recall here the presentation of the migrant plan in June by Bernard Cazeneuve and the Minister for Housing, Sylvia Pinel. That plan provides for the creation of extra reception capacity: 4,000 places for asylum applicants and 5,500 to meet the urgent needs of those who have already been granted refugee status but whose situation remains precarious, as you know. All these places are in addition to an already exceptional shelter capacity for 1,500 individuals.

We must now go further, and put the required resources rapidly in place by October.

The Minister of the Interior indicated last Saturday to France’s mayors that, by 2017, aid of €1,000 per accommodation place created will be allocated to municipalities and federations of municipalities contributing to the effort of solidarity. This exceptional support comes in addition to the accommodation policy for which central government is responsible. And I wish to salute here all those elected representatives who have mobilized throughout the country in the spirit of the Republic, to give practical expression to this passionate desire for solidarity. That meeting, Minister of the Interior, last Saturday at the Maison de la Chimie, with all the mayors representing every locality in the Republic, once again showed the best side of France. I wish also to salute the non-profit associations, the NGOs, the religious faiths, the faiths you have spoken with, those we have spoken with, the social housing organizations that have mobilized, and I do not forget here, of course, and we receive evidence of this every day, the citizens who involve themselves to no personal benefit, volunteering to provide a welcome for refugees. For my part, the memory I wish to keep from this time is that of the commitment of our compatriots, because that is also the true face of France.

In total, €279 million has been allocated for the period to the end of 2016 for initial reception, emergency accommodation and flat-rate amounts of aid to local municipalities, as well as to increase the staff of OFPRA, the French office for protection of refugees and stateless persons, which we have constantly been increasing since 2012, and OFII, the French office for immigration and integration, as well as the National Education system, which needs to take in pupils and parents, provide facilities for learning the French language and pass on the founding values of the Republic.

Solidarity means guaranteeing a proper reception for refugees and asylum seekers. But such solidarity – and this point is very important for our fellow citizens, and one on which I give an undertaking to you –must not worsen the situation of our fellow citizens who need our help, who need the nation’s solidarity. Because the argument that may be advanced is clear to us – that we help those who have just arrived and do nothing for others who have long been in difficulty. That argument can be a cause of further division. It is a division all the proponents of populism and gesture politics will be quick to exploit. To throw the spotlight on an emergency is not to doom all the other problems to the shadows. We cannot offer an uncompromising assessment of the divisions besetting our society – as we ourselves did in this forum on 13 January last – only to forget that priority the very next day. It is therefore our task to ensure that all receive the assistance they need. For that reason, over the next twelve months, the funds earmarked for emergency accommodation and social vigilance will be increased by €250 million, including €130 million next month, because it is our duty to apply the principles of solidarity.

Solidarity for refugees is part of an overarching migration policy that does not lose sight of its goals, which takes account of France’s realities, its demographics and its economic situation. Will the face of France be changed? That is not the issue. What we want is for France to meet the standards required by being true to itself, to remain loyal to the message of welcome for refugees it has always expressed, while at the same time being able to consolidate national cohesion, and social cohesion.

3. The European solution with Germany

Deputies,

This government is taking clear, considered and firm action. But nothing we do will be meaningful – and I shall return to this point – if Europe cannot succeed in finding and applying effective and sustainable solutions. That is the meaning of the proposals made by the President of the Republic to the German Chancellor. That is the meaning of the proposals made by our two nations. I wish to stress this, because current events require that I do so. Constancy is important for us, especially in our relationship with Germany. There will be no time when what Germany chooses to do is bad for Europe. That is France’s strength, it is constancy and the commitment shown by the President of the Republic.

A. Moving beyond the weaknesses of Europe

Faced with constantly increasing migrant flows, Europe, perhaps more than ever before in its history, and I say this in all seriousness, must be able to find the right solutions, coordinated solutions, enabling events to be anticipated and not simply suffered.

We are 28 countries, each with its own history, culture and geography. We naturally see things differently. There may be differences of view – that is nothing new – as was demonstrated by the meeting of the Council of Justice and Home Affairs on 14 September. But Europe must move beyond them. Europe is confronted with its destiny. It is possible that it may part company with its History; we are all very aware of the gravity of our times.

We must show daring and imagination to remedy the gaps becoming apparent before our eyes. I shall give two practical examples. The first: the excessive disparity of our asylum policies from one country to another; a fact exploited by people-smugglers. The second: our external borders must be controlled – yes, controlled – and controlled collectively. That is not the case now and has not been for years. The situation in Greece testifies to that every day, like the decision reached on Sunday by Germany and other countries to restore controls on these borders temporarily. I say again: we shall have no hesitation in taking a similar decision.

B. The French plan

However, in this context we need a comprehensive plan combining a response to the emergency and action for the long term.

The urgent need is to organize the reception of refugees in Europe and to bring migrant flows under control. The Council of Justice and Home Affairs, I would make clear, has in fact enabled the broad policy lines to be determined, which are now established.

The first point: we shall put in place – and France has been advocating this for some months – reception and registration centres – so-called “hotspots” – in the countries of initial arrival: Italy, Greece, Hungary and perhaps in the future Serbia, which is requesting this despite the fact that it is not a member of the European Union.

Those centres will make it possible to identify – and I stress “identify” in every sense of that term – and to register every migrant. We will then be able rapidly to make a distinction between those needing protection and those for which asylum is not appropriate. Such centres must start operating as soon as possible. The first will be opening in the next few days in Greece. France is once again willing to contribute its expertise, as it did in Munich recently, by assigning staff from OFPRA, the office for protection of refugees and stateless persons, and the PAF, the French border police.

I wish to be clear on this – this point is key to the success of the overall plan, for Europe, to saving Schengen, to our very concept of the right to asylum: the relocation process must be applied in those reception centres and not in Germany or Austria. That is essential, I say again, if we are to move forward together in Europe.

The second point: in order to take in individuals in need of protection, Europeans must agree on a fair allocation process. An agreement put forward by the Commission already exists – this is sometimes forgotten – and arriving at that agreement was particularly difficult last June. It provides for the acceptance of 40,000 people, of whom, as we have already announced, 6,700 are coming or will be coming to stay in our country. That is why we are not talking about quotas. That term is a source of confusion. It is not suited to the issues posed by the refugees and the right of asylum, and moreover, as you know, it has connotations in the context of our national debate.

In order to cope with the increased flows, the Commission is now proposing to raise the number to 160,000. A large majority of Member States subscribe to that target. In our own country, this means that we would accept – as the President of the Republic has undertaken to do – an extra 24,000. France is ready to do so.

All must shoulder their share of responsibility. Several countries are however now refusing to play by the rules. That is unacceptable, and I say this before the National Assembly. Those countries are forgetting their own history and the men and women we welcomed to France, when they themselves were fleeing communist dictatorship and persecution. All must contribute their share of the effort, in accordance naturally with their ability to do so. That entails explanation, argument and taking responsibility for decisions before their national public opinion. Solidarity is not a pick-and-mix menu. It is valid for all and is thus a duty for all. Otherwise, the European project has absolutely no meaning.

A further meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council is to be held early next week. It is imperative that we make progress on this issue. We are taking the initiative: our diplomacy, represented by Laurent Fabius and Harlem Désir; the President of the Republic will be meeting tomorrow with the President of the Council of Italy, Matteo Renzi; I myself will be in in Sweden and Austria on Thursday and Friday.

The third point: we must put in place a policy for effective return of individuals present illegally on European territory. This is necessary if all of these policies are to have any credibility. That is what serious action and control of the situation must mean. We need therefore to strengthen the role of Frontex and France will be supporting the Commission’s proposals. The Schengen Information System must also be used to prevent migrants refused access from entering European territory.

Additionally, the European Union has decided henceforth to authorize affirmative military action in international waters against the ships of people-smugglers, while of course protecting the safety of individuals. And France, which is already taking part in a whole series of actions in the Mediterranean, will be making a frigate available for that purpose in the next few days.

The fourth point – an essential one, a condition that must be met if anything is to be possible: we must cooperate closely with the transit countries and the countries of origin of the migrants. By providing massive humanitarian military aid to countries making substantive efforts to set up refugee camps – as you know, and as we were saying yesterday, there are four million refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and hundreds of thousands in the Horn of Africa. By cooperating to take down criminal networks trafficking in human beings. And by assisting in the rapid setting-up of centres in transit countries to assist the return of migrants and prevent migrants from leaving, as we are currently doing in Niger.

More generally, we will have no effective return policy without political dialogue, under the auspices of the High Representative, with the countries from which migrants come, and with the support of our diplomats. Such dialogue must begin soon! And it must specifically promote the readmission of illegal migrants into their countries.

C. The necessary initiatives

Should we stop there? The answer is clearly no. We must help the countries of origin to improve their economic development, to provide better future prospects to their citizens and especially to their young people. Those goals are at the heart of the Valletta Summit to take place on 11 November next.

Already the Union is considering the creation of a dedicated €1.8bn fund to help resolve the crises affecting the regions of the Sahel, Lake Chad and the Horn of Africa. I would like to recall once again here the proposal made by the President of the Republic for the organization, in order to intensify this movement, of a conference to be hosted in Paris in early 2016.

We must then consolidate a Europe-wide policy on migration. That will require, as I have said, greater harmonization of procedures where asylum is concerned. In this respect, the Commission’s proposal for a common list of safe countries, notably those of the Western Balkans, is a step in the right direction. Indeed, this has been agreed in principle by the Member States. It must now become a practical reality.

And to conclude, we must strengthen the Schengen area. I am aware of the debate on the question of borders; it can be passionate. Nation States, despite the European Union, the single currency and the Schengen area, have not disappeared! France is still there, and national borders continue to exist. Schengen means free movement of persons. It is a key component of our European identity, of our security. But Schengen also means that the external borders must be controlled, and effectively controlled! Otherwise the system cannot work. For that reason I am pleased that President Juncker has indicated clearly that by the end of the year the Commission will be tabling a proposal for European border guards. That is something France has long been advocating.

I am aware that some would have us believe that the solution lies in the abolition of Schengen. The far right says “We told you so”. That formula is a perfect formulation of what populism is: a way of thinking that feeds on disaster and difficulty, thinking that brings no solutions and makes it difficult for us to ensure our security. We need more Europe to overcome the present refugee challenge, not less Europe.

In other quarters, in the debate adhering to the values of the Republic, the proposal is for Schengen 2.0. But what lies behind that proposal? It is my understanding that Schengen 2.0 means adhering to the rules of Schengen 1.0. The main advantage, the main virtue of such a position is that it can excite only unanimity and a convergence of views. It is also my understanding that the idea is to implement a European policy on asylum and effective control of the external borders of the European Union… that is, to do what we are now doing, to do what I am proposing to you now. I deduce therefore from this that Schengen 2.0 is the common sense by which the government is guided, to which is added in some cases a taste for superfluous polemicizing on migrant issues.

Ladies and gentlemen of the National Assembly, what we are putting forward is an overarching plan that will, through consolidation – I repeat, through consolidation – enable us to preserve this fundamental component of the European integration. Any proposal that calls Schengen into question calls Europe into question and calls us, ourselves, into question – that is, the identity and the security of France.

Ladies and gentlemen of the National Assembly,

The refugee issue, the issue of their acceptance remains one that speaks to our very identity. The question “who is the person I am accepting?” is the mirror image of the question “who is the person doing the accepting?”. Faced with this great influx at the gates of Europe, faced with these broken lives, faced with these images, the heart of the French people has spoken, but they are nevertheless gripped by worry. France often doubts its strength, its abilities, and its identity. The refugee challenge is an opportunity for us to show just who we are: a strong, generous Nation, a Nation that has always been a guide to the world and its peoples for progress toward emancipation, liberty, the rule of law, human dignity and culture. A Nation that welcomes the oppressed while firmly upholding its values: liberty, equality, fraternity and the secular state, because it is aware that it is such firmness that guarantees the survival and the strength of its founding principles.

Yes, yes, this is a matter of honour; France will welcome migrants who otherwise will die on Europe’s doorstep. It will affirm its values in accordance with its rank, in accordance with the demands we make on ourselves, in accordance with what it expects of European solidarity. If France were to take action without such control, without such firmness, it would undermine the reality of its universal message and the practical conditions in which we welcome these refugees: conditions we want to be exemplary. That is precisely the difference between the duty of hospitality to those between life and death and the possibility of acceptance of those with a legitimate wish for a better life.

Ultimately, it is clear to us, as I was saying a few moments ago, that these are serious times: the migrant crisis, the climate challenge and the terrorist threat; in this unstable world our Nations may run the risk of toppling into chaos. For that reason it is more than ever the duty of this government to stand firm, and to send out to the world, to Europe, to our partners, to our neighbours, as well as to the French people, this message of constancy, control and unity that is imperative on an issue of this kind. Because those who wish for electoral reasons to exploit immigration, the refugee crisis, are in grave error and will one day pay dearly for it.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the National Assembly, France – a sovereign Nation within the Europe it has helped build – is stepping up to the mark, keeping faith with its values and taking full responsibility for its decisions.

Paskutiniai pakeitimai: 27/10/2015

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