France scraps constitutional terror reforms | News | DW | 30.03.2016
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France scraps constitutional terror reforms

French President Francois Hollande has abandoned planned constitutional reforms that would have stripped terrorists of their nationality. The proposals were first suggested in light of November's Paris attacks.

After four months of heated debate in the French National assembly, Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that the largely opposition-dominated Senate had failed to reach an agreement on the proposed reforms.

"A compromise appears out of reach on the stripping of terrorists' nationality," Hollande said in a brief televised statement.

"I also note that a section of the opposition is hostile to any constitutional revision. I deeply regret this attitude," the president added.

"I have decided to close the constitutional debate [but] I will not deviate from the commitments I have taken... to ensure the security of our country."

Francois Hollande

Francois Hollande said the threat of terror "remains higher than ever"

The changes included a clause to remove citizenship from people who were convicted of an "attack on the life of the nation." It also enshrined security measures that were implemented under a state of emergency more permanently.

Civil rights groups had criticized the planned reforms, and international organizations raised concerns about the effects that the crackdown might have.

Criticism of European security

Hollande's decision to scrap the reforms came as European authorities face increasing criticism over negligence and security failings in preventing the spread of radical Islam, particularly since last Tuesday's attacks in Brussels which killed 32 people.

Links have since emerged between the "Islamic State" cell which attacked Paris on November 13, 2015, killing 150 people, and the suicide bombers who struck the Belgian capital on March 22.

"The threat remains higher than ever," Hollande said on Wednesday. "Islamist terrorism has declared war against us, against France, Europe, [and] the entire world."

Euros 2015 security tightened

In response to the terror fears, Hollande pledged on Tuesday to increase the security budget for the Euro 2016 football tournament by 15 percent to allow for additional security measures.

He said the month-long soccer tournament this June would proceed as planned with security "at a maximum."

"The Euro 2016 should be a pursuit that includes coming together, unity, respect, tolerance and - within the context that we know - a form of response," Hollande said. "A response to hatred. To division. To fear. To horror."

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