Sputnik: How much will the issue of migration be at play during the Merkel-Macron meeting? Is it likely to dominate their agenda, do you think?
Paul Smith: Well, France has a maritime frontier as well, that's one of the things that you're putting your finger on a very important point, that it is one of the states that have maritime frontiers that have a different view. France kind of shares some of the concerns of the Italians and the Spaniards, whereas the Germans, Mrs. Merkel, are concerned about other ways into Germany. But, of course, the Germans have been remarkably generous in the way that they've approached the migration issue.
Despite what critics say of Macron, French migration policy is not particularly lax, it's not particularly liberal and it may well be the Germans asking the French to take a little bit more of the slack up as well for their part. I think they will be forced to a pretty strong exchange of view; it's not an argument, I don't think Merkel and Macron are into that sort of business. But I think that the Germans will ask the French to think about the way their policy works as well; which, of course, will probably feed the Macron's critics, but that's politics.
Sputnik: Many experts are feeling that it is time to completely overdraft the European concept of migration and all the laws form the Dublin Agreement and wider, because obviously the situation has changed significantly. The problem is being taken on by those countries that are geographically located and have maritime frontiers that are located nearer to Africa, where a lot of the migrants are coming from.
Paul Smith: No, absolutely, I go back to my earlier point that France is also aware of that because France does have a Mediterranean coast, a very long Mediterranean coast; so it is a potential area for embarkation, so you're absolutely right that there needs to be a Europe-wide rethinking of this, but it will need to be Europe-wide, because it is about policy, it's about the dreaded word "quotas;" and it's about how one settles migrants or indeed how you cope with them back to their countries of origin or if indeed you try to process claims for asylum in the country of origin — there has to be carefully thought through, joined up policy.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.