February has not started well for the European Union. On the first day of the month, furious farmers surrounded the parliament in Brussels, chanting defiance and throwing eggs at the people they blame for demeaning their industry. On Saturday, a man stabbed three people at the Gare de Lyon in Paris. The suspect in custody is from Mali but had lived legally in Italy since arriving in 2016. During questioning, the 32-year said his actions were motivated not by religion but by historical grievance, for what France ‘had imposed on his grandfather’. As has become the custom in these type of attacks, the initial explanation for the man’s rampage was attributed to ‘psychiatric problems’. That was also the excuse for the man who, in December, was accused of stabbing to death a German tourist in Paris.
The French right isn’t particularly interested in the motivations of the assailants; what concerns them is whether or not they should have been in France.
‘We won’t solve the problem of worsening insecurity in terms of numbers and nature if we don’t solve the problem of massive and uncontrolled immigration,’ tweeted Marine Le Pen in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack. There were similar reactions from Eric Zemmour and Francois-Xavier Bellamy, the Republican candidate in the upcoming European elections. ‘The most appalling thing about the attack…is that it was not an isolated incident,’ he remarked
The statistics bear out Bellamy. Murder, attempted murder and common assault have all risen dramatically since Emmanuel Macron came to power. There were 361,000 assaults in 2023, an increase of 63 per cent since he was elected president in 2017.
Last year also saw a record number of burglaries and car theft, the majority committed by 15 to 24-year-olds. Thirty-eight per cent of burglars were foreigners, a figure that rose to 40 per cent for car crime.