Génération Identitaire: The Government Has Failed to Protect the Border

Last weekend members of the Génération Identitaire in France set up a border barrier in the Mediterranean Alps and patrolled it in order to highlight the failure of the French government to close that route to illegal migrants. Their action got the authorities’ attention: early this week the government established border controls in the same area.

Romain Espino is a spokesman for Génération Identitaire. In the following video he is interviewed by a hostile panel on a TV talk show about the events of last weekend.

Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   For now we are on… we talk about the evaluation of the results of the operation of the
00:04   of the Génération Identitaire militants in the area of the Echelle Pass with the helicopters.
00:08   We’ll see what you think about it of course, 2316 to talk about it with Gigi.
00:12   We’re on with Romain. Good day, Romain! — Hello. —The spokesman for the Génération Identitaire.
00:16   have you seen that the Interior Minister [Gérard Collomb] said what you did was “gesticulations”?
00:20   Yes, absolutely. I think that in fact it’s rather about
00:24   repudiation by the government. In fact, this weekend
00:28   the militants of the IG, which is a political movement of youth, took
00:32   control of the Echelle Pass… —‘Control’, control is a big word, though!
00:36   It’s a big word, that is to say, that we deployed means, which allowed us to
00:40   block the arrival of migrants who are there illegally, the clandestine migrants.
00:44   We built a border, a physical border,
00:48   with surveillance teams; and the proof of the pudding
00:52   is in the eating: it works. We attracted attention to this pass
00:56   Today the public powers are deploying means. Therefore that means there something had to be done,
01:00   and the our action was justified and pertinent. — Romain, I have a question
01:05   to ask you, regardless of the fact that
01:09   I don’t at all share your concept of ‘welcoming’, but
01:13   I have a question: if you really found yourselves
01:17   in front of a family who just did
01:21   25 km [15 miles] in the snow, and who arrived at that point
01:25   in order to cross into France, and with children, and those are
01:29   often very difficult and very dangerous situations,
01:33   would you really have continued to lie to yourselves, or would you have done what
01:37   ALL of us do in those cases, even if we are absolutely distanced; which
01:41   means that at the end of the day you welcome them and you bring them to a place to get treated
01:45   in the warmth. —Your narrative is very well constructed, but in any case
01:49   it doesn’t reflect AT ALL the reality of the facts. The reality of the facts is that the majority
01:53   of clandestine migrants who arrive in Europe are men,
01:57   rather young, and who come here for purely economic reasons.
02:01   Therefore if we had met those people,
02:06   those illegal migrants, we would have in fact played our part,
02:10   which was to block them, and, if need arose,
02:14   to contact the authorities. — Meaning that you would have stopped them,
02:18   questioned them and brought them to the police, right? —We…
02:22   This is what you say when you have never met them… —Excuse me in what name…?
02:26   Who are you? and in whose name? Are you proclaiming yourselves a militia? —…this is the problem…
02:30   That’s where the problem lies. The problem is that the government isn’t playing its role.
02:34   It’s up to the government. It’s up to law enforcement to be present at the site and to prevent
02:38   the clandestines from entering France and Europe. The point of our action
02:42   was exactly this: to demonstrate that the government wasn’t acting,
02:46   and to be at the site. We were at the site, and the government ended up
02:50   talking about it. Today means are beginning to be deployed. Therefore we consider that
02:54   on the Echelle Pass it was about… — But you know very well that the problem isn’t there! Honestly,
02:58   you aren’t so naive though, to think that…
03:02   that the question of immigration
03:07   today, and especially of refugees is unfolding —
03:11   A group like IG,
03:15   who install themselves, who put in place a sort of border —
03:19   Well, it’s totally illegal what you did, Monsieur Romain!
03:23   We played our role; we wanted to show that with a minimum of determination.
03:27   But no, but, no! —…with a tad of will it was possible to take back
03:31   control of our borders… — But this isn’t your role, excuse me? Are you going to do that again?
03:35   Excuse me sir, but this isn’t your role —Precisely Madam, this is the problem that
03:39   it’s not our role, it’s the government’s role. — So, what were you doing there? Were you
03:43   hired, were you commissioned? —Well, we were there as Europeans
03:47   and as Frenchmen to tell our governments that they had to play their role.
03:51   It was our mission, and … —Yes, but did you know that the role of the government and European
03:55   commitment, was to welcome our portion of the migrants! There was also that role there, all right?
03:59   Which wasn’t played. So I don’t say… —No, no, our role,
04:03   our role ISN’T and the role of the government ISN’T either to let the illegals enter,
04:08   who are penetrating our territory. This is not the role of the government.
04:12   I understand, but it was not your place to be there. You are as lawless as the people who cross
04:16   the border. — On the contrary, we are Europeans, Madam, we are in our home, and … —I’m sorry, no.
04:20   …and we have absolutely the right to say… —Europe is large, it isn’t only France, uh?
04:24   And you are the police? —Absolutely, Europe is not only France, this is why we have… There were
04:28   European treaties, there were European treaties. —…& that’s why we had European militants with us.
04:32   No, no, wait… —There were European treaties. —Are you going to do that again?
04:36   Well, this weekend we are
04:40   installed on the Echelle Pass. The situation, well, the attention turned towards the Echelle Pass
04:44   towards this pass, the politicians begin to react, but our mission isn’t over yet.
04:48   Because we are going to continue to deploy surveillance teams
04:52   in the area, and to continue as well to work with the local people. —But this is a huge whatever!
04:55   So you are the zadists [hardline environmentalists]
04:58   of the mountains! You arrive and… — Look Madam, we… —I will finish:
05:01   we are at the site… —You arrive like the cowboys , do you think you are in the Wild West, or what?
05:04   We were at the site and we had the support of the locals. Those locals you don’t hear very often,
05:08   those locals who said they had enough, that their towns, their valleys… — Not all of them! — No,
05:12   not all, there are some who… not all of them, yes, but all those we talked to, all those…
05:15   —not all, there are some who are very supportive on the side of Briançon who welcome the refugees!
05:18   All those we met told us that they were fed up, that
05:21   the region, Briançon in particular, had become victim of illegal immigration.
05:25   We had huge support from the population, and therefore we are going to stay to help those people,
05:29   who count a lot on the participation of the youth,
05:33   of the participation of the IG to… — Yes, but you might provoke
05:37   a risk of fights, Romain Espino, excuse me. Suddenly you proclaim yourself
05:41   militia of preservation of order and borders, which you are not. —No, no.
05:45   Well it’s that, by putting yourself… additionally you lied to the helicopter company,
05:49   visibly, about the mission which you were going to implement, so
05:53   you were risking to add, you who wanted to maintain order, you were risking adding chaos,
05:57   Monsieur Espino! — No, not at all, not at all! We don’t add chaos, since
06:01   by our drawing the attention to that spot, the public powers decided to deploy
06:05   law enforcement, more exactly the gendarmerie, and to do the job
06:09   which they were asked to do. So the presence of law enforcement is good, to preserve order
06:13   was our goal. — But since you are European,
06:17   sir, you seem to believe in Europe, [EU] what do you think about the countries,
06:21   among them France by the way, who don’t keep their commitments concerning the welcoming
06:26   of, for example, we’re talking about Poland or Hungary, and so on, but even France
06:30   all while Germany and Italy took more than… —But Monsieur, Monsieur, a country, a country,
06:34   a country and Europe have to keep commitments concerning the will
06:38   of its population and its people. However, we see it in Europe and in France.
06:42   So you aren’t European at all! —Of course I am! —You aren’t European at all, well no!
06:46   Since there were decisions taken on the European level, which weren’t
06:50   respected by France. — But Monsieur, French people today
06:54   and Europeans don’t want to endure this flood any longer… — You don’t know it!
06:58   You don’t know anything about that, you! You are in your… —On the contrary!
07:02   Anyway, Romain Espino, I understand you are going to do that again?
07:06   We are staying at the site, we have people permanently on the site, who continue
07:10   this work among the population and this surveillance of the area.
07:14   All right. Thank you Romain Espino. Thank you for answering our questions. — Thank you.
07:18   The spokesman for Génération Identitaire.

2 thoughts on “Génération Identitaire: The Government Has Failed to Protect the Border

  1. The narrative gets stuck on what I commented on earlier – the movement being “European” or EU or national. They really have to get their expression straight on this as it is a three card monte that will be used to confuse any discussion.

    Those that back the current state of affairs will say that the method that is right is, in extremis, to implement temporary border controls, as allowed by EU treaty. In other words they will say that to follow legality activists should be petitioning government to reinstall border controls.

    Now we know that the likelihood of border patrols being reintroduced because of a few protestors in front of congress are pretty much close to zero.

    So the actions are effectively illegal, and the broadcaster knows this. However, he does not lead the conversation in that direction – ” why not go petition government? “, because he knows the straight reply – ” because the government is not following the will of the people, because the government avoids asking the people their opinion on this. “, which would take the offensive straight to the door of those (ir)responsible, the government, and all the filth around that is there to be thrown at it.

    So instead the presenter twists it all into ” France in EU and its commitments to Europe – you proclaim you are European and are not acting according to what France stands for with regards”.

    Again, they have to watch this, think about it, get their position clear, be prepared to counter the conflation and lead the conversation to its true objective. They have to guide the conversation down towards a chosen target, whatever it is, for example “government ignorance” or somesuch.

    For the rest, they are making their statement for all to witness, even if it is not sanctioned by law – the message there is straightforward : the existing legislation and accords are no good.

  2. Wow! 3 against 1. That young man sure can hold his own. Great spokesperson.
    Once again the old saw, what if women with children and babies came up to the border? Yeah, right. Women, children and babies are climbing uphill 15km in the snow. I don’t think so, nor does anyone else. Everyone knows that it is fit young men that are crossing here.

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