French President Nicolas Sarkozy's strict comments on immigration are thought to be an attempt to gain support from the conservative right.
12 March 2012
France threatens withdrawal from Schengen Agreement
Speaking at an election rally in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to withdraw from the Schengen Agreement unless more is done within Europe to tackle illegal immigration.
The Schengen Agreement currently allows citizens from 26 European countries to move freely through each country without the need for a passport.
However, Mr Sarkozy believes the agreement is being abused and is in desperate need of a revision.
"We have to put into force for Schengen a reform that is as structural as the one we have just put in place for the Euro. We cannot leave managing the flow of migrants to the technocrats and courts," he said.
Mr Sarkozy believes that unchecked immigration would cripple Europe's ability to adjust new entrants and threaten the security of some of Europe's most helpless citizens.
The incumbent president continued that reform was the "only way to avoid the implosion of Europe" and called for France to no longer accept the "shortcomings of Europe's external borders"
Mr Sarkozy warned that if these changes were not made, he would suspend France's participation in the Schengen agreement and reinforce border checks.
He continued that there were too many foreigners in France and pledged to tackle this number if re-elected.
France will hold its presidential election in 2012 and with falling ratings in opinion polls many spectators have criticised Mr Sarkozy's statements as an attempt to gain support from the more conservative right wing.
The current favourite to win the presidential election, Francois Bayrou claimed this measure would require rebuilding barriers and deploying customs officials on the borders.
The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company that offers visa advice and services.