France must leave the Schengen zone if it wants to tackle the causes of repeated riots, opposition MP Nicolas Dupont-Aignan has proposed.
The lawmaker claimed the violence is the result of failed attempts to integrate an excessive number of migrants.
- “I am the only one to ask for the reestablishment of national borders and for leaving Schengen,” the self-described Gaullist politician told the CNews television channel on Friday.
Dupont-Aignan claimed that the entire French political class was opposed to the idea, although rightwing lawmaker Marine Le Pen did include it as part of her unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2017.
Le Pen subsequently toned down her anti-immigration rhetoric during the 2022 election cycle, but pledged to impose border checks – a measure that critics said violated the spirit of the Schengen free travel agreement.
Dupont-Aignan, who is the only MP from his Debout la France (France Arise) party in the national parliament, was commenting on the latest round of riots to grip the country during President Emmanuel Macron’s tenure.
The MP accused the government of inaction and insisted Macron’s policies have led to “forces of order” being diminished and barely able to defend essential services.
“It’s not riots, it’s guerrilla warfare. A challenge to France, to our institutions, by a population that seeks secession,” Dupont-Aignan declared.
- The latest violence was sparked by the killing by police of a 17-year-old boy of Moroccan and Algerian descent during a traffic stop on June 27.
- French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin estimated this week that the number of participants in the riots was between 8,000 and 12,000, with “only 10%” of them being non-French citizens. Most of those arrested were aged 17 or 18, but some were as young as 11, senior officials reported to the Senate on Wednesday.