“France is at war”. The opening sentence Francois Hollande pronounced during his speech in the National Assembly after the Paris massacre marks the transition between two eras. One in which Europe saw the nightmare of terrorism from afar (left aside the Charlie Hebdo case) and the present era, in which the Old Continent has become aware of having become a battlefield. The numbers of the dead and the military strategy applied by ISIS on the streets of the French capital have made it clear. The enemies are no longer “lone wolves but a battalion of lions”, as the self-styled Islamic state has wickedly emphasized in their claim. A commando trained to kill which had prepared meticulously the attacks on Friday night. According to Hollande, this is an attack that can be repelled only through a change of the sort, thought for times of peace. We must make our Constitution evolve eto guarantee that our rule of law will be able to cope with terrorist threats,” said the proprietor of the Elysée Palace.
He refers to the articles 16 and 36 of the Charter of Fundamental; the first one contemplates the “exceptional powers” the President can use in case of “interruption of the regular work of the constitutional public authorities”, whereas the second one refers to the “state of siege”. If modified, the latter can be extended also to the “state of urgency”. Hollande went on to explain that on Wednesday, the House will be in charge of evaluating the bill designed to extend the state of emergency for 3 more months, with a content adapted to the extent of the threat”. “We must be ruthless” he has reiterated to the members gathered in Versailles: “Those who killed French people last Friday were French themselves”. Then he added: “on our territory live people who switch from delinquency to radicalism and criminal terrorism”. Addressing the topic of the European borders, Hollande has stated that “if Europe does not control its external borders, then it is time to go back to national borders. If these are not walls, then it is barbed wire. The European Union will be deconstructed.
The French President has invited everyone (including EU and neighbouring countries) to face their responsibilities and ask the Minister of Defence to reach his homologues in Brussels next on Tuesday, so as to involve the 28 members in the fight against terrorism on the basis of the treaties providing for mutual assistance in case of aggression on one of the Member States. Besides, thinking about the peoples oppressed by the Islamic State, Hollande has stated that there are “martyrs in flight. They are the victims of the same terrorist system. This is why – he continued – it is of vital importance for Europe to treat with dignity those who are qualify as asylum seekers, while sending back those who do not deserve it”. The head of state announced also a substantial crackdown on French citizenship which will be withdrawn from those who have double citizenship and is condemned for terrorism. “We cannot make individuals stateless – he pointed out -, but we must be able to make it possible for people sentenced for acts of terrorism to be deprived of French citizenship, even if they was born in France, in case this is not the sole citizenship they are in possess of. We must make sure we can withdraw citizenship from citizens who have been condemned for terrorism even if they are French”.