France's Sarkozy calls for two-speed EU, tighter borders

Sarkozy said Europe's borderless Schengen travel zone should be suspended and revamped to prevent foreigners who enter the bloc from then shopping around for generous welfare benefits in any member state

France's Sarkozy calls for two-speed EU, tighter borders

World Bulletin/News Desk

Ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy weighed into the European Parliament election campaign on Thursday, calling for tighter controls on immigration and a two-speed Europe with a powerful Franco-German economic zone at its heart.

The conservative former leader, who is widely expected to seek re-election in 2017, argued for a profound overhaul of EU institutions ahead of a May 25 European Parliament election in which the Eurosceptic National Front is currently tipped by polls to emerge as France's leading party.

In an editorial in Le Point weekly, he said Europe's borderless Schengen travel zone should be suspended and revamped to prevent foreigners who enter the bloc from then shopping around for generous welfare benefits in any member state

"We are up against the clear failure of Europe's immigration policy," he wrote. "Schengen I must be suspended and replaced with a Schengen II."

He also pressed for changes to the bloc's structure, arguing that the idea of all euro zone countries being of equal weight was "a myth" and that the list of policies to be coordinated at EU-level should be reduced to key areas such as agriculture, energy, trade and competition law.

"There is not one Europe but two ... In the euro zone, we must stop believing in the myth of equal rights between all members."

"I am arguing for the creation of a large Franco-German economic zone at the heart of the euro zone that will allow us to better defend our interests while eradicating our fiscal and social handicaps," he wrote.

President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party, still smarting from its rout in local elections in March, is seen coming in third place behind Sarkozy's former centre-right UMP party and the National Front.

Channeling frustration with Europe's executive arm, Sarkozy said the EU executive arm the European Commission should no longer have legislative powers, which would become the exclusive domain of the European parliament.

Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2014, 10:29
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