Recent remarks by a far-right French politician on the migration crisis at the EU's borders with Belarus sparked concern across the country on Friday.
Speaking to the French BFM TV news channel on the recent events transpiring on the Belarusian-Polish border, Julien Odoul, a member of the far-right National Rally party of Marine Le Pen, said the main task of European authorities must be to protect Europeans.
"We have to keep our borders closed to migrants, we mustn't let them in," Odoul said, adding that many of the migrants waiting on the border were "potentially dangerous."
Responding to a question by journalist, Olivier Truchot, on whether the migrants ought to be left to freeze at the border, Odoul said: "Absolutely, yes."
Unable to hide his astonishment, Truchot repeated his question, and Odoul, defended himself by saying, "Otherwise, Europe may have to face a migrant invasion."
The French politician's remarks became the subject of discussion on many other television programmes in the country.
In October 2019, Odoul had requested that a Muslim woman take off her veil at a meeting in the eastern Besancon, attacking her verbally. The woman was chaperoning a school trip in which one of the students was her child.
Tensions between Poland and Belarus escalated on Monday after thousands of migrants, mostly from Middle East countries, headed to the Polish border and tried to breach the barriers.
Polish authorities deployed around 15,000 troops along the border to stop migrants from entering the country.
This deployment sparked concern in Russia, with the Kremlin saying it was closely monitoring "the alarming situation" and urging all parties to act responsibly.
The EU accuses Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, of engaging in a form of "hybrid" warfare and using migrants as a weapon to destabilise European countries.