French opposition MP Nicolas Dupont-Aignan has called for France to leave the Schengen zone in order to address ongoing riots in the country. According to Dupont-Aignan, the violence is a direct result of the nation’s failure to integrate a large number of migrants.
In an interview with CNews television on Friday, Dupont-Aignan stated, “I am the only one to ask for the reestablishment of national borders and for leaving Schengen.” He acknowledged that his proposal goes against the stance of the entire French political class, although right-wing lawmaker Marine Le Pen did include it in her unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2017.
During the 2022 election cycle, Le Pen toned down her anti-EU rhetoric but promised to implement border checks, a move criticized as violating the spirit of the Schengen free travel agreement.
Dupont-Aignan, the sole member of his Debout la France (France Arise) party in the national parliament, made these remarks in response to the recent wave of riots that have shaken the country under President Emmanuel Macron. In his view, the government’s inaction and Macron’s policies have weakened law enforcement, leaving them unable to adequately protect essential services.
He described the situation as more than just riots, referring to it as guerrilla warfare. He believes it represents a challenge to France and its institutions, with a population that seeks secession.
The most recent round of violence was triggered by the death of a 17-year-old boy of Moroccan and Algerian descent during a traffic stop on June 27, which was carried out by a police officer. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin estimated this week that between 8,000 and 12,000 people participated in the riots, with only around 10% of them being non-French citizens. Authorities have arrested individuals as young as 11, with the majority being 17 or 18 years old.
Dupont-Aignan’s call to leave the Schengen zone reflects his belief that tighter border controls are necessary to prevent further unrest and address the underlying issues of integration.
Critics argue that leaving the Schengen zone would hinder the free movement of people and goods within the European Union. However, Dupont-Aignan maintains that such a step is necessary to protect French society and its institutions from the challenges posed by a population seeking secession.
While his proposal is at odds with the mainstream political discourse in France, it highlights the significant divide within the country on how to address the issue of migration and integration. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen whether Dupont-Aignan’s call for leaving the Schengen zone will gain traction or be dismissed as an extreme and unrealistic solution.