Is it normal that Damien Rieu was able to cross the French-Italian border at night without being checked? – Liberation

The Reconquest candidate for the Alpes-Maritimes parliamentary elections, Damien Rieu, was eliminated this Sunday, and had staged himself by crossing the French-Italian border. “secretly”, in a video posted on social media on June 8th. In the sequence he borrows “migrant road” departure from Mortola, Italy, from where “migrants travel when they want to cross the border and reach France”. The goal: to verify border security. In a few seconds of video, he crosses a dirt road, crosses a dilapidated barrier and goes to the port of Menton, without “no control”he strikes firmly. The former activist of the right-wing extremist group Génération Identitaire finally proposes to put “maximum pressure on Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and on the government”, if he is elected, then the boundaries that he describes as “colander”, be “secured and guarded”.

Several of his political opponents reacted to the video, which has gone viral on social networks, responding that Italy and France are part of the Schengen area, where the free movement of people between member states applies. The MEPs of the presidential majority thus react to the Reconquest candidate with irony on their Twitter account, EU renaissance (formerly LREM): “a single area of ​​free movement between countries that have decided it … We could even call it the Schengen area”.

Temporary restoration of border control

However, if France is actually part of the Schengen area, it has temporarily restored border controls from 1 May to 31 October 2022 “in connection with Covid-19”, we read on the European Commission’s website. The Schengen Borders Code allows Member States to re-establish “temporarily” their control, “in the event of a serious threat to public order or internal security”. The Schengen Borders Code provides in Article 25 that: “the total duration of the reintroduction of border controls at internal borders […] may not exceed six months.

Since 2015, reintroduction of border control is continuing to be renewed almost every six months. This was the case ten times between 14 December 2015 and 30 April 2019 due to the terrorist threat following the attacks that took place on the territory, but also the organization of events such as the European Football Championship in July 2016. Then, between 1 May 2019 and last 1 May, the notification was registered six times due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and some “persistent terrorist threat”. This data is included in the list of Member States’ announcements published by the EU. “The latest renewal was notified to the European Commission due to the continuing development of the terrorist threat, the development of the international situation, secondary migratory flows and the risks associated with the Covid-19 epidemic”, confirms the Interior Ministry to CheckNews.

“The freedom to come and go remains the rule”

Faced with this almost systematic renewal, the SGP police told France 3 Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur in May that “Since 2015, the staff responsible for carrying out inspections has doubled or even tripled with the introduction of non-free movement. A political choice that it is not up to us to comment on. “. It also indicates“Unlike a regime of free movement, it is [leur] is possible to [se] mail at a given time somewhere to perform checks ”.

Contacted by CheckNewsreminds the Ministry of the Interior of it “the restoration of internal border controls does not allow for systematic control of persons entering or leaving French territory. This text allows for the strengthening of border controls, the freedom to come and go in the Schengen area remains the rule..

At the border with the Alpes-Maritimes, Beauvau explains, this strengthening of control takes the following form: “Checks are carried out 24/7 at eight authorized crossing points (PPA, listed by decree and validated by the European Union), which are motorway, road or rail checkpoints.The EU regularly updates the list of border crossing points where border controls are allowed. The last, dated April 26, indicates five locations in Menton: Saint-Ludovic Bridge, La Turbie, Central Station, Garavan Station, and Saint-Louis Bridge.. In the video, Damien Rieu talks well about being “taken down by Garavan”, the district of Menton near the border with Italy. On the sequence, however, there is nothing to confirm that the former Generation Identity activist passes through the station where the aforementioned fixed checkpoint is located.

In theory, Damien Rieu could have been controlled

Lack of passage through these authorized crossing points does not imply that there is no control. In fact, the ministry explains, “The bailiff and secondary bypass paths are subject to surveillance by mobile patrols. In the sector between Mortola and Menton-Garavan, this monitoring is carried out in the front line in h24 of a Sentinel company of the army (i.e. 60 men). This company’s mission is to detect groups of migrants advancing along the paths. Once the detection is done, PAF’s services will [la police aux frontières, ndlr] is informed and comes to challenge the illegal immigrants to bring them back to SPAFT in Menton [le service de la police aux frontières terrestres] and hand them over to the Italian authorities. In some cases, it may be decided to slip through small groups deployed at night or during the day as scouts and to challenge the groups that follow them and who arrive in larger numbers – in the second line, by mobile patrols charged with day as at. night to arrest stray persons on foot – on the third line, at bus stops and at secondary stations early in the morning from kl. 05.00 ”.

In theory, therefore, Damien Rieu could have been controlled. But the fact that it was not does not mean that there is no control in the area. The ministry also claims that “On the night between June 7 and 8, when the video was taken, sixteen migrants were arrested (three Egyptians, two Guineans, one Ethiopian, four Moroccans, two Afghans, one Chad, two Tunisians and one Bangladeshi). All were surrendered to the Italian authorities except for one minor placed in a home – of the sixteen, three were arrested at Menton-Garavan station, six at Saint-Ludovic PPA, one at Menton-Center-ville, five at the A8 motorway and one in the Roya Valley : the sector where Damien Rieu was, saw ten arrests that night (ie PPA Menton-Garavan, PPA Saint-Ludovic, Menton-Center-ville). To this we can add two heavy goods vehicles that were intercepted early in the morning of June 8 at the Turbie toll booth with nine migrants hidden in the trailers, migrants smuggled into the trailers during the night at Ventimiglia autoport.

A renewal of illegal controls?

At a time when the Reconquest candidate is campaigning for a tightening of controls and claims to have demonstrated their shortcomings, several organizations condemn the renewal of the derogatory border controls. On 10 May, four associations, Anafé (National Association for Assistance at Borders for Foreigners), Gisti (Information Support Group for Immigrants), Cimade (Inter-Movement Committee for Evacuees) and Ligue Human Rights, thus seized the Council of State to terminate the extension since 2015 of the exemption from the free movement of persons. They are based in particular on a judgment of the European Court of Justice of 26. April – in response to a question on the interpretation of European texts referred by the Austrian courts – on “that such a measure, including any extensions, may not exceed a maximum total duration of six months.” The text also clarifies that the reintroduction of border controls can only be carried out by one Member State “when faced with a new serious threat affecting its public order or internal security which is different from the one originally identified”.

Contacted by CheckNewsLaure Palun, director of Anafé, insists that “the main reason has always been the same since 2015, the terrorist threat and since 2019, Covid”which places the French State ina situation of illegality “. The Council of State must take a position in the coming weeks.

Leave a Comment