Published On: Tue, Sep 24th, 2019

Macron’s immigration plan comes under attack as Le Pen accuses him of flip-flopping | World | News

The accusations come after M Macron signalled a tougher line on immigration last Monday, arguing that the government had to end its “lax” approach towards the problem to prevent voters from being wooed by Mme Le Pen and her allies. Mme Le Pen reiterated her claims against the centrist on Tuesday morning, telling French broadcaster RTL that M Macron had “suddenly” gone from saying that immigration “is a problem,” to threatening to slap sanctions on countries that refuse to help tackle the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. “M Macron says immigration is a problem, but then 24 hours later he says countries that refuse to take in migrants should be fined… He switched position twice in two days, that’s a lot!” she said.

Her party’s vice-president and protégé Jordan Bardella, a member of the European parliament, also lashed out at M Macron, telling the BFMTV news channel on Sunday that those who do not want to get “sucked into the Macron machine” should join the anti-immigrant RN.

The RN has repeatedly urged the Macron government to hold a popular referendum on immigration, saying controversial policies such as birthright citizenship and family reunification should be put up for debate.

“By claiming to be humanist we are sometimes too lax,” he told a meeting of his ministers and ruling party representatives, saying that France’s immigration and asylum laws were being “misused” by migrant smuggling networks and “people who manipulate” the system.

“The working classes live with [the immigration problem]. For decades the left didn’t want to deal with this problem so the working class migrated to the far right,” M Macron said.

“We’re like the three little monkeys, we don’t want to see,” he added, referring to the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” dictum represented by three monkeys with their hands over their eyes, ears and mouth.

“The entry flows into Europe have never been so low and the asylum requests have never been so high,” the 41-year-old leader noted, arguing that France needed a system that was both “more efficient and more humane”.  

Later in the week, however, M Macron urged the European Union to introduce a new, automatic system of taking in migrants saved from the Mediterranean to ease the burden on frontline states such as Malta and Italy.

EU countries that refuse to take part in the scheme should be “seriously penalised,” M Macron said during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

M Macron has maintained a tough stance on so-called economic migrants, drawing a firm distinction between them and refugees fleeing war, famine or persecution.

France last year received a record 122,743 asylum requests, up 22 percent compared to 2017.

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