At the Samos camp, Pécresse advocates “humanity” and “firmness” on immigration

“A model to develop”: Valérie Pécresse visited the Samos migrant camp in Greece on Saturday, seeing in the impeccable containers and secure fences an “example” of the policy of “humanity” and “firmness “that she advocates on immigration.

Arrived at the end of the morning on the camp opened at the end of September on this island located opposite the Turkish coast, the presidential candidate LR is explained at length by the Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Migration, Manos Logothetis, the operation of the neighborhoods and access to this structure surrounded by a triple barbed fence.

Security gates with digital recognition and turnstiles at the entry, exit times between 8H 00 and 20H00, detention area for rejected asylum seekers… the measures of security are strict, and criticized by NGOs concerned about freedom of movement.

In the field swept by a cold wind, Valérie Pécresse praises “a model that combines firmness, the courage to say no” and “at the same time the humanity of the reception conditions” because “there are schools for children, security very large, real comfort”, in contrast to the slum of Vathy where migrants used to pile up.

Refectories, playgrounds, facilities ranging from wifi to laundry facilities, as well as rooms installed in white containers: “It’s more comfortable but there is less freedom”, explains Philipp, a volunteer, who reports “mental health” problems.

Inhabitants “can move if they have the authorizations and are in the asylum seeker process. When they arrive this is not the case, in the event of rejection either. ..” assures Marc-Antoine Pineau, of the Asia association.

As the candidate passed, a dozen Somali demonstrators unfurled banners stating in English “stop detention” or ” the freedom of refugees matters”. “It’s a detention camp just like Guantanmo”, launches one of the demonstrators, while Valérie Pacresse, 85 meters away, talks to the police .

“There’s nothing to do here. When you lose your card, which we call Ausweis here, you can’t do anything. Even an animal is sometimes freed! “, launches Brici, a Cameroonian, on the tarmacked ground and devoid of any vegetation, before ensuring: “it is more humiliating than revolting”.

– “Alliance” –

Valérie Pécresse, who has a very firm project on the sovereign, hammers it: “We cannot have a sieve Europe, a Europe supermarket where you enter and leave in an uncontrolled way”.

And if she refutes the term “fortress”, she assures it: “There is no great power without respect for the border”.

While the number of irregular migrants has, according to Frontex, returned in 2021 to its pre-pandemic levels, the Samos camp is “an example to follow” for the candidate who boasts “a model in terms of efficiency, having made it possible to divide by eight the flow of illegal immigrants passing through Greece”.

LR candidate for the French presidential election Valérie Pécresse (d), LR deputy Eric Ciotti (c) and Nadine Morano (LR, g) visit the former migrant camp of Vathy, on the Greek island of Samos, on 15 January 2022 (AFP – Alain JOCARD)The cost is high vé – 43 million – but “much less than those induced by the slums that we have in our cities” affirms Valérie Pécresse, according to whom “we must generalize what is being done here”.

Three months before the presidential election, people around him say they are convinced that “justice and immigration are among the major subjects of concern” for the French.

On this privileged terrain of far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, Valérie Pécresse, who met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday, tackles Emmanuel Macron who “wanted to put the dust under the carpet”.

Surrounded by Eric Ciotti and Michel Barnier, she also advocates “an alliance of European border countries” with “enhanced cooperation” between them, and supports European countries asking ” the financing by the EU of the walls of barbed wire which make it possible to converge the arrivals towards the authorized crossing points”.

Because “the wall is not st not the solution, but it could be the answer”, she assures.