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France ‘won’t hesitate’ to install border controls

France will "not hesitate" to follow Germany in bringing back border controls over the refugee crisis if it becomes necessary in the coming weeks, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday.

France 'won't hesitate' to install border controls
The French border with Italy where controls have been in place for many months. Photo: AFP

“We already restored temporary controls in spring (on the Italian border) and we won't hesitate to do it again as the rules of Schengen allow when circumstances require it,” Valls told a parliamentary debate on the migrant crisis.

Buckling under the pressure of the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, Germany announced this week it was reinstating border controls in a blow to the EU's passport-free Schengen zone.

Austria and Slovakia quickly followed suit with similar measures and Poland said it too was willing to step up policing of its borders.

Paris reinstated controls on its border with Italy in June as large numbers of migrants arriving by boat in Italy tried to cross into France.

“Schengen is the free movement of people,” Valls said of the passport-free zone that encompasses 22 EU countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

“It is a part of our identity, and our security. But Schengen is also the control of exterior borders, otherwise it doesn't work,” said Valls.

Valls again called for more European cooperation in dealing with the refugee crisis.

President Francois Hollande has said France will take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years and warned that without a united EU policy to share the burden of migrants, the borderless Schengen system will collapse.

Valls said more than 600 million euros ($677 million) would go towards financing the reception of these refugees by the end of 2017.

He also announced the creation of 900 extra security forces jobs, particularly border police, to fight illegal immigration.

“Some tell us 'you must shut everything'. To say that is to ignore the refugees dying on our doorstep. Others say 'open everything'. To say that is to ignore the realities and difficulties faced by French society,” said Valls.

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BORDERS

Switzerland and France conclude tax deal for cross-border ‘home workers’

Switzerland and France have concluded an agreement concerning cross-border employees working from their home in France during to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland and France conclude tax deal for cross-border 'home workers'
shows a border between Switzerland and France closed by concrete block and adorned with Swiss flags in Presinge near Geneva. AFP
According to the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SFI), “the tax agreements between the two countries continue to apply as before, as long as the exceptional health measures are in force”.
 
This means that French cross-border workers will continue to be charged taxes as if they had physically gone to their workplace in Switzerland.
 
Under the taxation regime currently in place, permit G holders who work in cantons other than Geneva, have their taxes collected by French authorities.
 
However, if their place of employment is Geneva, taxes are paid in Switzerland.
 
 
In total, about 87,000 French citizens commute to work in Switzerland daily but there are no official figures on how many of them currently work from home.
 
 
The provisions of the agreement are valid until May 31st and will be renewed from month to month until Bern and Paris end health regulations that limit or discourage the movement of people.
 
However, either country may cancel the arrangement by mutual agreement at any time.
 
The SFI said that it is also in contact with authorities in Italy, Germany and Austria for the purpose of concluding similar tax agreements, clarifying tax obligations for cross-border  home workers from these countries.
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