While the sovereign subjects are back in force, the deputy Les Républicains des Alpes-Maritimes sets the record straight in a disoriented party. And firmly refuses any electoral rapprochement with Macronie.
Your party appears to be divided between supporters of a rapprochement with La République en Marche and supporters of a firmly demarcated line. One year before the presidential election and on the eve of the regional elections, is this a situation that irritates you?
I never trusted what the new macronist world embodied. Today, we see the damage that has been committed, not to mention the chaotic management of the health crisis. I do not find any positive point in this report. Never has insecurity been so high in our country. We have broken all records for the entry of foreigners. Islamism has continued to progress and to conquer territories which it is methodically corrupting. From an economic point of view, taxation has not been reduced, quite the contrary. We live in a world marked by the advance of a crippling bureaucracy. My position is very clear, we cannot ally with a party we are fighting and which has damaged our country a lot. However, the republican right has always known within it sensibilities that were based on different personalities. Our region is no exception to this story and that doesn’t bother me, as long as we are clear on the objectives. In any election, we can call on personalities with different profiles for the purpose of bringing together, but the guideline can not suffer from any ambiguity. I have just been re-elected president of the Federation of Republicans of the Alpes-Maritimes. With Michèle Tabarot, who is the departmental secretary, and Charles-Ange Ginesy, who chairs the Departmental Council, our line does not suffer from any ambivalence. It is up to everyone to determine, not our party to conform to sensitivities that are very far from being in the majority.
What would you say to those, among your voters, who would be tempted to join Marine Le Pen in 2022, considering your proposals on immigration and insecurity ultimately not so different?
First, I want to tell these voters whom I deeply respect and understand their anger, but I also want to tell them that voting Le Pen in the first round is almost certainly ensuring the election of Macron in the second. Which means more immigration, more insecurity and more communitarianism. I believe that when one has a constant speech and clear ideas, the voters are not mistaken. I call for a referendum to considerably limit immigration and call for an end to certain international conventions which deprive us of our legal sovereignty. I hope that we build prison places so that the sentences can be carried out. I have deep convictions, they have never changed and I do not situate myself in relation to this or that political party, I have old and solid convictions that I have always defended, but I find it absurd that when the RN says it’s raining, self-righteousness says it’s sunny.
How do the Republicans differ from the National Rally on these proposals and can therefore claim to be the best able to deal with them? Especially since some believe that in power, you had not been up to it …
What sets us apart from the National Rally overall is our ability to govern. If the French want things to happen, they must trust a governing party, with a renewed team, clear and strong ideas. I believe that we have learned from the mistakes made in the past. When we were in power, I was one of those who campaigned to go further and I will continue to go in this direction with the candidate that I will support for the Presidency of the Republic.
You who are the “security gentleman” of the Republicans, how do you explain the inexorable rise of violence in our country and the inability of the authorities to stop it?
The source of the rise in violence and delinquency is often the immigration of
mass. We see an over-representation of foreigners in the convictions. In Paris, for example, it is mainly foreign minors from Eastern European countries who are arrested for pick-pocketing. There are in French prisons nearly a quarter of foreigners — not counting French people of foreign origin — even though they represent 7% of the total population. This rise in violence is then fed by too much criminal impunity. The sanction is no longer sufficiently dissuasive or firm, because of the weakness in the use of imprisonment, because of the lack of prison places. At the request of President Sarkozy, in 2010, I was the author of a report on the application of sentences, which recommended reaching 80,000 prison places in 2017. Today we have barely 61. 000. Emmanuel Macron had promised 15,000, he only achieved a little more than 1,500, almost all decided during the time of the Hollande government. Thus, people sentenced to prison often see their sentence arranged with an electronic bracelet, which sometimes constitutes for the city bosses a sign of power. In this explosion of violence, many minors are also involved and we do not have an appropriate response. For this, I advocate a military-type framework. We must stop this logic of the purely educational response. The penal majority must be reduced and the problem of unaccompanied foreign minors must be tackled, by systematically returning them to their country of origin. I do not understand why France supports these minors from Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia, who cost 15 million euros per year for the Alpes-Maritimes department alone.
Besides the prison overcrowding, less pressing since the release of thousands of prisoners during the health crisis, how do you explain such a gap between the sentences sometimes handed down and the sentences applied? OQTFs (obligation to leave French territory) are only rarely carried out …
It is very clearly a lack of political will. We have allowed a law that is increasingly protective of foreigners to be built. We can clearly see that certain channels of smugglers
use the naivety of our law and especially our jurisprudence. I am thinking in particular of the recognition, by the Constitutional Council, of the “principle of fraternity”, which is an open door to smugglers, as we have seen in the Alpes-Maritimes. We must get out of the very lax interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which also constitutes an open door to family reunification. For my part, I would put a drastic halt to the asylum application, which has become the legal route for illegal immigration. In 2019, out of 172,000 asylum seekers, only 40,000 could claim political refugee status. With regard to the execution of OQTFs, there is unwillingness from the source countries of immigration. We have to use all our persuasive power and clearly put the terms of a deal in the balance. We cannot continue to grant aid to countries which refuse to take back their nationals who have entered the country illegally, or who have been sentenced. Any foreigner with a residence permit who commits a crime or an offense on the national territory and who is sentenced for it must be immediately expelled and must serve his sentence in his country of origin. I believe that this must be at the heart of the program of the Republican right.
Would you be in favor of the reestablishment of the ministry of immigration, integration and national identity, created by the government of François Fillon?
I am in favor of a very strong interior ministry in which a minister responsible for immigration and national identity could be included. We can see that our identity, our history and our culture are being dissolved, patiently attacked by people who refuse to assimilate and who arrive in our country wanting to impose their culture and their way of life. I am a strong supporter of our identity, if we don’t stand up for it, we will disappear. All the levers are in the hands of the Minister of the Interior. Beyond a martial speech, we need very strong acts, which are not there. We saw it in the Separatism law, which does not even dare to name the evil. Supposed to fight against Islamism, it ultimately puts all religions on the same level. It shows the cowardice that drives those who lead us.