France should take in more refugees says presidential hopeful Benoît Hamon
Left-winger Benoît Hamon urged EU leaders – including Socialist president François Hollande – to treat Europe-bound refugees fleeing war and persecution in a “humane and just” way.
Speaking at a rally in Bordeaux on Wednesday, he said: “Government officials have given France-bound refugees the cold shoulder when in fact, they should be doing a lot more to protect them.”
Most immigrants undertake “incredibly perilous journeys” to reach European soil, he warned, before adding that France could take in “more refugees”.
‘We must also issue more humanitarian visas’, says Benoît Hamon
He said: “We must renegotiate the Dublin rules that dictate that asylum seekers must stay in the first European country they step foot in.
We must renegotiate the Dublin rules that dictate that asylum seekers must stay in the first European country they step foot in
"They are unnecessary and counterproductive. We must also issue more humanitarian visas so that vulnerable refugees can travel to Europe in safe and decent conditions."
At the beginning of the EU migrant crisis in 2015, Mr Hollande pledged to offer sanctuary to 24,000 migrants, but has failed to live up to this promise: since then, no more than 10,000 refugees have been granted asylum in France.
He said: “I’m not saying that we have to find beds for one million refugees overnight. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people. France is the world’s fifth most powerful country, it can afford to take in a handful of desperate refugees.”
Refugees stand behind a fence at the Hungarian border with Serbia
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Mr Hamon also shone a harsh spotlight on France’s “poor and inhumane” migrant integration policy, which he says is “not up to scratch”.
He said: "Refugees should be able to work within three months of arriving in France.
"We need to help them take a shot at a new life, but first, we must help them integrate into society. The only solution to the migrant crisis is solidarity."