“A model to develop” : Valérie Pécresse went, Saturday, January 15, to the migrant camp of Samos, in Greece. She saw in the impeccable containers and the secure fences a » example « of the policy of« humanity » and of « firmness » she advocates on immigration.
Arrived at the end of the morning in the camp opened at the end of September in this island located opposite the Turkish coast, the candidate Les Républicains (LR) for the presidential election was explained at length by the secretary general of the Greek ministry of migrations , Manos Logothetis, the functioning of the neighborhoods and access to this structure surrounded by a triple barbed wire fence.
“More comfortable” but “less freedom”
Security gates with digital recognition and turnstiles at the entrance, exit times between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., detention area for rejected asylum seekers… the security measures are strict, and criticized by non-governmental organizations ( NGOs), who are concerned about attacks on freedom of movement.
On the ground swept by a cold wind, Valérie Pécresse boasted « a model that combines firmness, the courage to say no » and “at the same time the humanity of the reception conditions” because “there are schools for children, very high security, real comfort”, in contrast to the slum of Vathy where migrants once crowded.
Canteens, playgrounds, facilities ranging from WiFi to laundries, as well as rooms installed in white containers: « It’s more comfortable but there is less freedom », explains Philipp, a volunteer, who reports problems « mental health ». The inhabitants “can move if they have the authorizations and are in the process of seeking asylum. When they arrive they don’t, when they get rejected either… », assures Marc-Antoine Pineau, of the Asia association.
As the candidate passed by, a dozen Somali demonstrators unfurled banners, on which one can read, in English, « stop the detention » or “refugee freedom matters”. « It’s a detention camp just like Guantanmo », launches one of the demonstrators, while Valérie Pacresse, 100 meters away, speaks with the police.
“There is nothing to do here. When you lose your card, we call here “the Ausweis”, you can not do anything. Even an animal is freed sometimes! », launches Brici, a Cameroonian, on the tarmacked ground and devoid of any vegetation, before adding: “It’s more humiliating than revolting. »
» Example to follow «
Mme Pécresse, who has a very firm project on the sovereign, insists: “We cannot have a sieve Europe, a supermarket Europe where we enter and leave in an uncontrolled way. » And if she refutes the term of « fortress » she assures him: “There is no great power without respect for the border. »
While the number of irregular migrants has, according to Frontex, returned in 2021 to its pre-pandemic levels, the Samos camp is » an example to follow « for the candidate who boasts « a model in terms of efficiency, having made it possible to divide by eight the flow of illegal immigrants passing through Greece ». The cost is high – 43 million euros – but “much less than those induced by the slums that we have in our cities”, says Valérie Pécresse, according to whom « We must generalize what is being done here ».
In the field of immigration, favored by far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, Valérie Pécresse, who met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday, tackles Emmanuel Macron who “wanted to put dust under the rug”.
Surrounded by Eric Ciotti and Michel Barnier, the LR candidate also advocates “an alliance of European border countries”, with between them « strengthened cooperation ». It supports European countries asking “EU funding of barbed wire walls that allow arrivals to converge on authorized crossing points”. Because “the wall is not the solution, but it could be the answer”, she assures.