“If necessary, we will go even further”: Elisabeth Borne says she is ready to put more resources into protecting the French after the knife attack committed on Saturday, in an interview with Figaro posted online on Wednesday, with very regal accents. “All countries in the world are exposed to risks that must be avoided. We are mobilizing resources for these Olympic Games (in Paris) and we will mobilize more if it is necessary”, affirms the Prime Minister, four days after a fatal knife attack committed on Saturday in Paris, which put the executive under pressure in the face of the jihadist threat.
“With the recently passed programming laws, the budgets of the Ministries of the Interior, Justice and the Armed Forces have been further strengthened. If necessary, we will go even further,” she adds. The head of government suggests in particular that individuals like the attacker on Saturday, known to the intelligence services for his radical Islamism and his psychiatric disorders, could be the subject of “even more sustained attention”. “It is true that a significant number of people are monitored for radicalization and terrorism. There are people monitored for psychiatry. At the intersection of the two, we can have individuals who require attention even more sustained,” she says.
Borne awaits proposals from Aurélien Rousseau
While her Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin had pointed out a “failure” in the psychiatric follow-up of the alleged author of the attack, Elisabeth Borne considers that “it is all the links in the chain that must be examine”. An investigating judge on Wednesday indicted the Franco-Iranian, Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, suspected of being the author of the fatal knife attack perpetrated Saturday evening near the Eiffel Tower, his lawyer told AFP. Aged 26, he said he had acted in “reaction to the persecution of Muslims around the world”, while the government had said it feared the importation onto French soil of the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas.
The attack occurred less than two months after that in Arras in Pas-de-Calais which cost the life of a teacher in mid-October and led to the Vigipirate plan being raised to the maximum “emergency attack” level. And eight months before the 2024 Olympics next summer, when 15 million spectators will be expected in the Paris region. On the very sensitive immigration bill, another sovereign issue carried by her Minister of the Interior, who was once her rival for Matignon, Elisabeth Borne says her “confidence” in Gérald Darmanin to find a majority in the National Assembly .
But she also says she is waiting for “proposals” from her and from the Minister of Health Adrien Rousseau to possibly adapt the AME, state medical aid for undocumented foreigners, called into question by the Senate during the debate on this law project. In this context, she also affirms that a renegotiation of a Franco-Algerian agreement of 1968, which confers a favorable status to Algerians for their conditions of movement, stay and employment in France, is “the order of the day”. The right and members of the majority want it to be called into question, judging this treaty too favorable to Algerians in terms of immigration.
On the economic front, she does not take up the proposal of her Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire to reduce the duration of unemployment compensation for those over 55. “My first concern is that seniors remain employed,” she said, suggesting “extending” progressive retirement. But like him, she wants to continue to “carry out reforms”, specifying that “the legislative calendar for the coming months will be guided by the affirmation of authority, the search for full employment, the questions of energy and housing, the transformation of our agriculture, the effectiveness of public action”.
While several of her ministers already have their teeth sharpened for the 2027 presidential election, she explains that in her position “we do not comment on the hypothetical ambitions of one or the other”. “We must continue to devote our energy to carrying out the following reforms. This is what I expect of all ministers.”