Concern is mounting in the French capital over the latest wave of illegal immigrants to head from the Italian island of Lampedusa to northern Europe, with Parisian residents worrying about their own security.
Several local residents discussed the issue of immigration with the French broadcaster CNews, expressing their fear that Paris could see an influx of new arrivals, with tens of thousands of migrants landing on Italian shores in recent weeks.
“We don’t feel safe,” one resident of the 18th arrondissement near the Jardins d’Éole told the channel, explaining that a number of newcomers to the neighborhood had participated in civil disorder and organized crime including drug trafficking.
“They fight and cause problems,” added another resident who admitted she felt scared and intimidated by groups of adult males loitering in her neighborhood.
It isn’t just local residents who are expressing concern. Local politicians have also voiced their displeasure at the degradation witnessed on Parisian streets in recent times, with many new arrivals to the French capital resorting to sleeping rough and establishing ghettos due to a saturation of social services.
“You regularly have clashes, cases of alcoholism and drug addiction on the public roads of these neighborhoods, and unfortunately, networks of crack traffickers who take advantage of the presence of these people,” said Pierre Liscia, regional councilor for Île-de-France.
Other elected officials have called for strong measures to be put in place to relocate newcomers from the streets to more secure accommodations in an attempt to clean up affected neighborhoods.
“I am calling for a major emergency plan for the northeast of Paris, to get migrants out of the street is the dignity that we owe them, and thus resolve the problem of local residents who are on the frontline of nuisances and inconveniences,” said Parisian councilor Pierre-Yves Bournazel.
The European Union is currently discussing asylum reforms in a bid to prevent migrants from entering the bloc and traveling at will to desired, more prosperous nations. The EU migration pact will see countries obligated to receive their fair share of newcomers and face financial penalties should they fail to comply.
The plans have been vociferously opposed by both Hungary and Poland, which claim the pact infringes on their national sovereignty. Initial proposals were recently passed in Brussels by qualified majority voting, despite resistance from Budapest and Warsaw.
Lampedusa has been inundated with scores of illegal migrants arriving in small boats from the African mainland, many of whom continue to migrate to the north of Italy and cross into France and Germany.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stressed ahead of an informal summit of EU leaders in Granada, Spain, this week that his government will never agree to the EU’s asylum proposals, adding that Poles “do not want another Lampedusa in Poland.”
Ahead of the Polish election next weekend, Morawiecki reiterated his government’s commitment to border security and took aim at Poland’s liberal opposition who would waive Brussels’ plan through.
“We are at a turning point in how Polish sovereignty and borders will be treated. For (the opposition) PO and the European Commission, borders are obsolete,” Morawiecki said.