Macron: Europe must better protect its borders

The French president on Friday vowed that his country will deal with the latest migration issue rigorously but humanely.

“Migration is a phenomenon that affects all Europeans,” Emmanuel Macron told reporters during a visit to the town of Semur-en-Auxois in central France, as reported by broadcaster BFMTV.

He stressed the need for a humanitarian approach and added: “We also have the duty of European solidarity.”

Macron recalled that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin contacted his Italian counterpart over the latest migration flow to Lampedusa Island, where over 6,000 irregular migrants landed in a few days.

“Europe must better protect its borders,” the president further said, and added: “We will act with rigor as we always did.”

He noted that Europeans have the duty of not leaving Italy alone in the face of what is happening.

Located on the Mediterranean route leading from Africa to Europe, Lampedusa welcomed nearly 6,800 irregular migrants earlier this week, according to state-run news agency ANSA.

Irregular migrants who reach Europe by their own means usually first land on Lampedusa Island, the Italian territory closest to North Africa.

– Visa issue

Replying to a question about reports that African artists could no longer obtain visas from France, Macron said: “France’s vocation is to welcome artists and intellectuals.”

He denounced “putschists” who attacked France in those African countries.

“It is a security duty to reduce our presence and to even stop cooperation,” the president stressed, adding that the French ambassador to Niger was “literally taken hostage” inside the embassy building and could not even receive food supply.

Earlier on Friday, France’s culture minister denied reports of an order to stop cooperation with the artists from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

“France had to minimize its staff in embassies and consulates and close visa services,” Rima Abdul Malak said. “So physically, it is impossible to deliver visas to artists and any individual coming from those countries to France … We never boycott artists from anywhere.”

An art and culture enterprises union, Syndeac, and other peers expressed ire over a message they claimed they received from the regional directorate of the Culture Ministry, sent by the order of the Foreign Ministry.

Niger plunged into turmoil on July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

The furor against the French presence in the country provoked a row with Paris.

Military administrations took power in neighboring Burkina Faso in 2022 and in Mali in 2020.

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