France’s Emmanuel Macron rushed from an EU crunch meeting on a new migration deal to address the major rioting at home some claim are a symptom of immigration integration failures, leaving the Polish Prime Minister to sardonically remark on the irony of the situation.
Compare rioting French suburbs and peaceful Polish cities, said Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki as he drew a link between France’s immigration policies and its social cohesion at an EU summit. Underlining the point, the Polish leader later posted a social media video contrasting happy families enjoying the summer weather in Polish cities to French police armoured personnel carriers crashing through burning barricades on the other side of Europe.
Topics on the table at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels this week included the Ukraine war, Russia sanctions, and agreeing on a new bloc-wide migration deal, but President Macron missed talks Friday as he left early to take control of the government response to massive rioting in French cities and towns.
Some have criticised Macron for his rather hands-off approach to the three-night run of riots triggered by the killing of a teenager by police on Tuesday morning. Macron was photographed partying with Elton John on Wednesday night as clashes between police and rioters went on, and even as violence intensified Macron left the country for a European Union leaders summit in Brussels.
Nasz plan to Europa Bezpiecznych Granic – bezpieczeństwo i porządek publiczny – to są wartości, od których wszystko inne się zaczyna! pic.twitter.com/9anvfDU11d
— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) June 30, 2023
Apparently belatedly realising his mistake, President Macron cancelled a media conference and left the crunch talks on immigration policy and Russia early to rush back to Paris to appear present.
Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki used the abrupt departure of the French leader from the immigration summit to needle the pro-open borders policies of Western Europe. Poland has opposed EU plans to force all member states to take migrants and demand cash from those who refuse.
Morawiecki said: “President Emmanuel Macron, whom I saw this morning, had to leave the summit early to deal with the huge riots… I think that all Poles will answer, including supporters of the opposition, that this is not a picture we would like to see [at home].”
The Polish PM said he intended to continue his government’s “safe immigration policy” and invited listeners to: “compare these two images. Today’s suburbs of Paris: massive riots, looting of shops, broken windows, burning cars. Then quiet Polish cities, quiet Polish villages. Poland opted for peace”.
Several hours after these comments, Morawiecki buttressed his remarks with a series of social media posts. He wrote:
Shops looted, police cars set on fire, barricades in the streets – this is now happening in the center of Paris and many other French cities. We don’t want such scenes on Polish streets. We don’t want scenes like this in any city in Europe.
That is why we will defend the conclusions of the 2018 European Council, we will defend the principle of voluntary admission of immigrants. Stop illegal migration. Safety first.
…Our plan is Europe of Secure Borders – security and public order – these are the values from which everything else begins!
That the present bout of rioting is a symptom, as asserted by the Polish leader, of mass migration or not may prove controversial, especially in France where the link between mass migration and social cohesion has barely been discussed in the establishment media in recent days. Some have broached the subject including former Presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, a right-wing populist, who said he would have prevented this violence happening — had he won the election — by stopping immigration.
Under the new plan presently being pushed through the European Union against the strong opposition of Poland and Hungary, the bloc would enact new migrant redistribution rules. All EU members would be expected to take a share of migrants arriving on the bloc’s southern borders, and those refusing would be obliged to pay large cash penalties instead to subsidise the migrant settlement plans of other states.
Poland has criticised the “forced and involuntary” nature of the plan, with Morawiecki saying on Thursday: “Europe’s borders are not safe… Poland makes it clear: opening the borders … is a strategic mistake. The blood of European residents is already being shed due to the lack of responsible policies.”
As noted by Politico, Macron — along with German Chancellor Scholz and European Council President Charles Michel — was among those at the top of the European Union trying to push Poland and Hungary into accepting the migration plan. An unnamed French diplomat was cited by the publication as accusing the Poles and Hungarians of wanting to pull off a “political coup” to prevent the agreement from going through.
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