Sarkozy threatens to quit passport deal if EU countries don't seal borders against illegal immigrants
Mail Foreign Service
04:35, 9 April 2012
08:55, 9 April 2012
Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to
bring back passport checks for all EU citizens entering France if member
countries fail to seal their borders against illegal immigrants.The French president named Greece as a key culprit allowing asylum seekers to flood across its ‘unguarded frontier’ with Turkey.
He set a one-year deadline for EU nations to tighten security before
France pulls out of the Schengen Agreement that allows free travel
between 25 countries.He said yesterday: ‘There are 120km between Greece and Turkey which are not guarded.
‘I am within my rights to demand what the sanctions should be. I give one
year for this practice to change, otherwise we suspend our membership of
the Schengen Agreement. ‘As
it is France which has the most generous welfare benefits, we are the
ones most affected by putting these measures into place properly.’Mr
Sarkozy’s increasingly tough stance on immigration is seen as an
attempt to win over voters of the extremist National Front party as he
falls behind socialist rival Francois Hollande in the polls for this
month’s presidential election.
His remarks come a month after he said tightening border security was the only way to avoid ‘the implosion of Europe’.
Mr Sarkozy told an election rally in March: ‘Unchecked immigration thwarts
Europe’s ability to take in and integrate new entrants and puts strains
on social safety nets for the most disadvantaged across the continent.’The UK did not sign up to the Schengen Agreement and Britons still need a passport to visit France.
But any changes would mean passport checks for all European and non-EU travellers arriving in France.
Mr Sarkozy also warned yesterday that France would impose its own barriers
to cheap non-EU imported goods unless trade protection regulations were
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