Growing fears of more terrorist attacks in France and on the European mainland has seen French President Emmanuel Macron call for a complete shake up on the EU’s free movement laws.
President Macron held a press conference yesterday in Le Perthus in the Pyrenees, on the border with Spain where he pledged to put more troops on the country’s borders.
However, he also called for “refoundation” of the Schengen agreement which allows free movement across EU states.
“We should radically overhaul Schengen to rethink its organisation, to intensify our common border protection with a real security police force at the external borders of the area, but also by strengthening the integration of our rules,” he said.
To push the issue, he has promised to raise his concerns and the potential solution at a meeting of EU leaders next month.
It comes after the Mayor of Nice also called for the suspension of the agreement for an indefinite period following the terrorist attacks in the city earlier this week.
France has suffered two terror attacks in less than two weeks during October, including the beheading of a schoolteacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed to his class, and the killing of three people in a church in Nice.
Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Thursday there was an argument to make to “suspend the Schengen agreements for a certain time,” in response to the attack.
“Nice was not affected because it was Nice, but because of its proximity to the Italian border,” he added.
Yesterday President Macron added there was a determination to drive a reform agenda under the French presidency of the Council of the EU, in the first half of next year.
“We know how to do this for currency, we must do this for security,” he said.
“These decisions are part of the plan of what we have been doing for the last three years, but also taking into account the evolution of the threat, the attacks that France has experienced, that Austria has experienced,” President Macron said.
The President revealed that French security services had stopped a large number of potential terrorist attacks in the past years.
“We have foiled 32 plans for attacks on our soil,” he explained. “I am in favour of an in-depth re-foundation of Schengen to re-think its organization and beef up our common border security.”
France will take immediate action said President Macron.
“We will increase from 2,400 to 4,800 police officers, soldiers who will be mobilised to fight against illegal immigration,” he explained. “Fighting effectively against this Islamic terrorism means to fight against networks of traffickers who have links with terrorism, are sometimes terrorists themselves.”