Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party and their allies have slammed the government’s decision to allow EU citizens – including Brits – into France after 11th May.
National Rally (RN) – previously known as the National Front – leader Marine Le Pen said on Twitter: “They prefer to put the French people in danger rather than question their religious dogma on free movement. It is hopeless!”
Jordan Bardella, number two in the party, said on France 2 today that the move to allow people from the UK in as well as people from the European Union and the Schengen zone, was a “a complete aberration” and “dangerous”.
He said: “We cannot impose department borders on the whole French population when we continue to refuse to put controls on the national borders.”
Telling viewers that “Europe is the main hub of the epidemic”, Bardella added: “How many deaths does there have to be for them to put to sleep their borderless fanaticism, their europeanist ideology?”
He mentioned the example of the Czech Republic who “right at the beginning of the month of March closed its borders with countries that were hotspots for the epidemic and imposed wearing masks for everyone in public spaces.”
He added: “Today, the number of deaths and cases [in Czech Republic] is very low.”
MEP and head of the far-right political group Identity and Democracy (Identite et Democratie), Nicolas Bay, who used to be in the Rassemblement National before Marine Le Pen saw him as a threat and he was sidelined, said on Twitter: “We will therefore not be able to go from Paris to Rouen, but on the other hand the borders with the countries where the virus is circulating like Italy or Belgium will be left wide open?!”
He was visibly alluding to the limitation on movement in France from 11th May that will ban people from travelling more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) from their homes.
Meanwhile, the Mayor of Beziers, Robert Menard, who was a founder of Reporters Without Borders, said on Twitter: “It’s a surreal situation: what will the French, limited in their journeys to 100 kilometres, say when they see German or Dutch tourists showing up?”
The backlash comes as the French government did a U-turn after its Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Saturday that the government plans to “prolong the health state of emergency against COVID-19 for two months until 24th July” and that there would be quarantine measures in place when the borders partially reopen on 11th May.
The Elysee Palace then hastily added that EU member states and the Schengen zone would be exempt, as would be the United Kingdom.
The Elysee said that people arriving from a zone that was not the European Union (EU), the Schengen zone or the United Kingdom would be subjects to measures “which would be clarified by the Quai d’Orsay [the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs] in the coming days.”
The Elysee’s statement has been echoed by the French Embassy to the UK on Twitter, which said: “People entering France from the European area (EU, Schengen and the UK) will NOT be affected by the FR quarantine measure, whose practical details will soon be specified.”
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