It took Emmanuel Macron and his Health Defence Council one year to decide to close the country’s borders in order to fight against the Covid-19 epidemic. A long year of resisting the blows of the opposition and the most elementary common sense to support the argument: “The virus has no passport.”
This phrase was taken up in chorus by all the ministers, who seemed sincerely unaware that those who were contaminated by the virus could still travel. Thus, since the end of January and the announcements of Prime Minister Jean Castex, foreigners outside the European Union can no longer come to France “except for a compelling reason”. As for European foreigners, they must present a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours to be able to enter the national territory.
So much for the main principles. But what about their actual application? French weekly Valeurs Actuelles collected the testimony of several customs officers, the agents historically responsible for controlling who and what enters French soil.
And the least VA could report in the light of feedback from the border, is that France still looks very much like a sieve.
“To say that the country’s borders are closed is deeply false,” one border agent confirmed, wishing to remain anonymous. At the present time, one enters France without any difficulty. We heard the Prime Minister’s speech, but these are nothing more than hollow announcements. In the field, almost nothing has changed, whether in terms of the means or the missions entrusted to us.”
These words contrast radically with the official discourse and put into question the real political will which drives this measure.