France - Eta

Sarkozy vows to eradicate Eta bases in France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (r) and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (l) at the memorial service of Jean-Serge Nérin on 23 March, 2010.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (r) and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (l) at the memorial service of Jean-Serge Nérin on 23 March, 2010. Reuters/Michel Euler

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to eradicate all French support networks of Eta, the separatist Basque movement that is held to be responsible for the shooting of a French policeman last week. As Sarkozy and his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Zapatero paid tribute to the fallen officer, unions called for better and safer working conditions for French police.

Advertising

"We will flush [the Eta bases] out one by one," said President Sarkozy at the memorial service for Jean-Serge Nérin in Melun, in the south-east suburbs of Paris. "We will dismantle all of the support networks of this terrorist organisation."

Jean-Serge Nérin, 52, was killed during a shoot-out by a suspected member of the separatist Basque movement Eta on 16 March.

He was promoted to the degree of police commander on Friday and has been named Knight of France's Légion d’Honneur.

Nérin is the first French policeman to have fallen victim to an Eta attack in the group’s four-decade armed campaign for an independent homeland.

French police have arrested one man and are hunting five others suspected of belonging to the group involved in the shoot-out.

"This crime will not go unpunished," Sarkozy said at the funeral, pledging "zero tolerance" of cop killers.

The French parliament will soon be asked to adopt a bill imposing severe sentences of 30 years in prison to those convicted of murdering a police officer, Sarkozy announced.

Meanwhile, the death of Jean-Serge Nérin has spurred the French unions of policemen to call for a rally to demand better and safer working conditions.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning