Britain’s Rwanda Bill has exposed the deep divisions in France between how the people and the political elite regard mass immigration. Asked if they would like France to adopt a Rwanda-style bill, 67 per cent of the French canvassed replied favourably to the idea. This figure is no surprise: for years, polls on the subject of border control have returned results that show two thirds to three-quarters of the French are worried by mass immigration and its consequences.

Emmanuel Macron had a different take on the Rwanda Bill. In a speech at the Sorbonne on Thursday, the president declared that he was opposed to ‘this model that some people want to put in place, which means that you go and look for a third country, for example in Africa, and send our immigrants there’. Such a model, said Macron, is ‘a betrayal of our values’.

Economic migrants and asylum seekers continue to arrive in Europe in vast numbers

Macron didn’t elaborate on what those ‘values’ might be. But he gave a clue in the conclusion to his speech, stating ‘the promise I would like to seal is to defend the European humanism that binds us together’.

It was noted the next day that Macron’s speech was largely ignored by France’s European media, particularly in Germany, where the president’s lustre has long since faded. The same goes for most of the French people. If Macron had anticipated that the Sorbonne speech – which ran to nearly two hours – was going to be the moment he relaunched his presidency he was mistaken. A poll on Monday revealed that the majority of the country have a negative impression of their president: 67 per cent to be exact, which by a fitting symmetry is the same as the number who would like France to copy Britain and start sending asylum seekers to Africa.

The frequent problem for Macron is that he keeps getting overtaken by events. Just 48 hours after he talked imperiously of defending European values, a 15-year-old boy called Matisse was fatally stabbed in a sleepy French town in the Loire, allegedly by a teenage Afghan with the help of his mother.

There are other disturbing aspects to the case: the initial cover up by authorities, who rushed out a statement on Sunday stating that the suspect ‘has never been convicted of a criminal offence and has no previous convictions’. Then the revelation that in fact he is well-known to police, for his ‘arrogant attitude’ and his violence.

On two previous occasions this year the 15-year-old Afghan had been arrested for possession of a knife; the weekend before the fatal stabbing, he had threatened a man with a knife before stealing his mobile phone. However, because of his age, the teenager couldn’t be held in custody so he walked free under ‘judicial supervision’.

Macron’s political adversaries have described the murder as illustrative of a state that has lost control. ‘Young Matisse was stabbed to death in Châteauroux by an Afghan known to the law,’ tweeted Marine Le Pen. ‘How many more of our children will pay with their lives for this insane immigration policy?’

It is a question that many French would like an answer to. Last October, 16-year-old Thomas was fatally stabbed at his village dance, allegedly by a teenager who wanted to ‘kill a white’. The previous year 12-year-old Lola was raped and murdered, allegedly by an Algerian woman who was in the country illegally.

The fact that Macron refuses to address this question explains why Le Pen’s National Rally are on course for a crushing victory in June’s European elections. Macron’s party had hoped that his speech at the Sorbonne would give a boost to their candidate in the elections, the bland Valerie Hayer, but the polls show that hasn’t happened. The National Rally’s candidate, Jordan Bardella, has over the weekend extended his lead to 16.5 points. Embarrassingly for Macron, Hayer is in danger of being overtaken by the Socialists, so the president could suffer the humiliation of seeing his party finish third in the elections.

He has only himself to blame, and Brussels. For together their inability to protect the people of Europe from mass immigration has led to a surge in support for parties that promise to take the matter in hand.

Back in September 2017, just four months into his presidency, Macron gave his first keynote speech. It took place at the Sorbonne. He called it his ‘Initiative for Europe’, and on the subject of the migrant crisis he declared his wish for ‘a European border police force to gradually be put in place, to ensure rigorous management of borders across Europe and the return of those who cannot stay. And I would like us to finance – in solidarity – a large-scale programme to train and integrate refugees, for it is our common duty as Europeans to find a place for refugees’.

This hasn’t happened. Economic migrants and asylum seekers continue to arrive in Europe in vast numbers. Some come to work, some to cause trouble. The duty of Europe’s presidents and prime ministers is to determine swiftly and effectively which is which.

The Rwanda Bill is an attempt to do that. Macron should use the Bill as an example to follow instead of criticising it for undermining European ‘values’. What is really undermining the continent’s values are governments unwilling to protect their people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *