France to prolong emergency; warns EU of risk from refugee influx

23 Jan 2016


Prime Minister Manuel Valls French President Francois Hollande is seeking parliament's approval to prolong the state of emergency, declared after the deadly 13 November Paris attacks, by another three months even as Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that Europe's migration crisis is putting the EU at grave risk.

"The French President has announced that, given the terrorist threat, the government would present during a cabinet meeting on February 3 a bill extending the state of emergency for a period of three months," Xinhua cited an Elysee statement as saying on Friday.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, meanwhile told the BBC that Europe could not take all the refugees fleeing what he called terrible wars in Iraq or Syria.

"Otherwise," he said, "our societies will be totally destabilised."

Europe is now hosting over a million migrants, mostly refugees, arrived last year, many making perilous journeys amidst fears that the migrants may not all be refugees fleeing war torn West Asian countries and could contain elements of the jihadi terror groups.

Valls also said that France could extend its current state of emergency for "as long as is necessary" because of the threat from Islamic State (IS) jihadists, whom he called "Daesh".

President Hollande declared a state of emergency on 14 November, a day after the Paris attacks, giving police powers to conduct house searches without judicial warrants and arrest suspects.

Parliament since approved a proposal to extend the state of emergency to three months, and that term is expected to expire on 26 February.

Valls said the state of emergency should be maintained "the time necessary... till we can get rid of Daesh."

"We cannot always live all the time in a state of emergency. But, as long as the threat is there, we must use all available means," he said.

Europe, he said, needed to take urgent action to control its external borders. "If Europe is not capable of protecting its own borders, it's the very idea of Europe that will be questioned."

The migration crisis is threatening major shifts in population, Valls said and warned that the concept of Europe itself was now in very grave danger.

On German Chancellor Angela Merkel's welcoming message last year to refugees, Valls said she "had courage", but it was clear he believed her message was wrong.

"A message that says 'Come, you will be welcome' provokes major shifts" in population, says Valls.

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