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France rejects EU official’s ‘little remarks’ on recent riots

France did not appreciate an EU commissioner's comments on policing
France did not appreciate an EU commissioner's comments on policing - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP Emma McIntyre
France did not appreciate an EU commissioner's comments on policing - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP Emma McIntyre

France on Thursday rejected “little remarks” by an EU commissioner on recent riots sparked by the police killing of a teenager at a traffic stop, saying the European Union had no business weighing in on questions of law enforcement.

EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders on Wednesday said the “very high level of violence” in recent years in France — including yellow vest protests, demonstrations against pension reform and riots over the teenager’s killing by a police officer — was “striking”.

He compared the French police approach to that in neighbouring Belgium which, he said, “perhaps relies more on prevention… rather than direct confrontation”.

He added: “That really needs to be looked at.”

But Thursday, France’s minister in charge of European affairs said the commissioner had overstepped the mark.

“I’m very surprised because upholding public order is not part of the EU’s prerogatives,” Laurence Boone told French radio.

She said “dramatic” events like those seen since Nahel M. was shot by a policeman on June 27, were “not unique to France”.

They required efforts to “restore calm”, instead of “little remarks from people whose business it is not to make them”.

Boone added that an EU report on rule of law, presented Wednesday by Reynders, had noted “progress made in France”, notably following Paris’s decision to boost staff numbers in the judiciary.

Law enforcement and fundamental rights do not come under the report’s scope.

AFP
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