Paris attacks - Key messages and measures announced by President Hollande
At a time of exceptional seriousness, on Monday 16th November, by virtue of Article 18 of the Constitution of France, President Hollande was anxious to address the Congress of the French Parliament gathered at Versailles.
"Terrorism will not destroy the Republic, it is the Republic that will destroy terrorism."
16 November 2015
“Our democracy has overcome far more formidable adversaries than these cowardly murderers. Our Republic cannot be undermined by these contemptible killers” François Hollande declared. “The terrorists believe that free peoples will allow themselves to be intimidated by terror. They are mistaken. The French Republic has overcome many other ordeals. It is still here, very much alive. And those who have tried to challenge it have always been history’s losers (…). The French are a passionate, brave and courageous people. A people that does not give up, that stands up whenever one of its children is knocked to the ground.”
On Friday, “the whole of France” was the terrorists’ target: “A France that loves life, culture, sport and celebration. A France that does not distinguish between colour, origin, walk of life or religion. The France that the murderers wanted to kill represented youth in all its diversity” – there were people of 19 different nationalities among the victims.
The destruction of Daesh is a challenge shared by the entire international community:
- The French President has requested that a meeting of the UN Security Council be convened rapidly to adopt a resolution marking the common commitment to fighting terrorism.
- In the meantime, France will step up its operations in Syria.
- The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will set sail to the eastern Mediterranean, “which will triple our military capabilities.”
We are searching tirelessly for “a political solution in Syria of which Bashar al-Assad cannot ultimately be a part, but our enemy is Daesh”. The objective is to save the local populations and those of neighbouring countries; as well as to protect ourselves.
More needs to be done:
- More airstrikes and support for the anti-Daesh opposition;
- A single grand coalition. The French President will shortly be meeting Presidents Obama and Putin to this end, in order to unite our forces.
The Defence Minister will discuss the situation with his European counterparts, pursuant to Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty, which provides that, when a State is attacked, all Member States shall show solidarity, by all means in their power.
“It is essential for Europe to receive those entitled to asylum in a dignified manner”: the inhabitants of Daesh-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria are tormented by the same people attacking us today. However, those not entitled to asylum need to be sent back to their countries.
“Effective protection of external borders is needed”. France is working on this with Germany and all countries coping with the influx of refugees. This precondition must be met if the Schengen Agreement is to remain. Failure to do so would lead to the dismantling of the European Union.
It is vital that long-standing French demands be put into practice rapidly in Europe:
- fight against arms trafficking,
- establishment of coordinated and systematic controls at the EU’s internal and external borders,
- approval of the European Passenger Name Record (PNR) before the end of 2015 in order to keep track of the return of jihadists and take them in for questioning.
The Declaration of Human and Civic Rights asserts that security and resistance to oppression are fundamental rights. In accordance with these principles, we will “guarantee the security of our fellow citizens”.
- Extension of the State of Emergency to three months and adaptation of the legislative framework thereof
A bill will be put before Parliament extending the State of Emergency to three months. The Act of 1955 will be adapted to changing threats, in particular with regard to house arrest and administrative searches.
- Constitutional reform
This aims to provide an appropriate tool on which to base the short-term adoption of emergency measures, without resorting to martial law and without compromising civil liberties.
- The Government will immediately begin a legislative process making it possible, in particular, to:
- strip any individual convicted of harming the Nation’s fundamental interests or of an act of terrorism of their French citizenship, if they have dual nationality.
- prohibit the return to French territory of dual nationals who pose a terrorist risk, unless they submit to draconian control measures.
- more rapidly expel foreigners who pose a particularly serious threat to public order and national security, in compliance with our international commitments.
- update criminal procedure to take account of the specific nature of the terrorist threat, in the strictest possible manner.
These provisions will supplement the measures already adopted since 2012.
The Security Pact takes priority over the Stability Pact:
- 5,000 new jobs will be created in the police and gendarmerie over the next 2 years in order to bring the total number of security jobs created to 10,000 over the current five-year presidential term of office.
- 2,500 jobs will be created in the judicial system, in the prison service and legal services.
- 1,000 customs jobs when border controls can be used.
No staff cutbacks will be made in the Ministry of Defence between now and 2019, in favour of operational, cyber defence and intelligence units.
We must also “make better use of the potential of our defence reserves”. Reservists are the basis of a trained, prepared and available national guard.
These budgetary decisions will be taken within the framework of the 2016 Budget Act, and will result in increased expenditure.
The major international event that is the Climate Change Conference will take place, under revised and reinforced security conditions. The regional elections will be held on the planned dates and political life will come into its own again. “The timetable of our democracy shall not be subject to blackmail by terrorists”.