French left debates migrants and Trump ahead of primary | News | DW | 15.01.2017
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


French left debates migrants and Trump ahead of primary

An ex-premier has proposed a carbon tax on American goods and reinforcing national identity through language. But his left-wing rival said Europe will not get away "with warships and barbed wire" in combatting migration.

After their first televised debate last week, France's leftist presidential candidates on Sunday discussed their positions on migration and US President-elect Donald Trump ahead of a primary vote later this month.

Former premier Manuel Valls, considered the leading candidate by several national polls, said he wants to "respect the right of asylum," but that France has "already faced the migratory crisis," according to French newspaper "Le Monde."

France must "reinforce work for the integration of asylum seekers," in particular exhorting them to learn French, he said.

However, former Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg criticized the ex-premier's response, saying more needed to be done to address the causes of migration.

"We will not get away with warships and barbed wire," Montebourg said, referring to attempts to bolster the EU's borders after 2015's influx of more than 1 million migrants, many fleeing conflict and extreme poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The migration crisis prompted a political crisis between EU member states, with the Visegrad group, comprised of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, refusing to take in refugees allocated under a bloc-wide quota system.

Jean-Luc Bennahmias, a center-left outlier and founder of the Democratic Front, called for a "true European foreign policy."

"The minimum would be sharing" the burden, especially seeing that "our Italian and Greek friends continue to welcome thousands of people," Bennahmias said.

'Europe must be strong'

The debate later shifted to the incoming US administration, with euroskeptic politicians flocking to the divisive President-elect Donald Trump.

Vall rejected that Europe should submit to American policy, saying "Europe must be strong and united."

His comments come amid reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is likely to warn Trump over protectionist measures aimed at shoring up the US economy.

The EU will have to impose a "carbon tax on the import of American products," Valls said. "These are power relations. France must be strong at these times."

However, some of the other candidates expressed a less reactionary vision for European-American relations

Sylvia Pinel, head of the Radical Left Party, said France needed to lead instead of following, proposing the "strengthening of the Franco-German relationship."

Under French President Francois Hollande, Paris has witnessed warm ties with Berlin.

The primary to decide who will represent the left for the Socialist Party is scheduled for January 22, with a runoff expected on January 29. Despite seven contenders in the race, Valls is expected to lead the nomination for the presidency.

DW recommends