Nicolas Sarkozy says France has too many foreigners

Nicolas Sarkozy at his interview on French television [6 March 2012] Nicolas Sarkozy says the system for integrating immigrants is at risk of breaking down

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said there are too many foreigners in France and the system for integrating them is "working worse and worse".

In a TV debate, Mr Sarkozy defended his plan to almost halve the number of new arrivals if re-elected next month.

Mr Sarkozy is trailing in the opinion polls behind the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

He is also competing for conservative voters with the far-right National Front party led by Marine le Pen.

The president said while immigration could be a boon for France, it needed to be controlled more tightly through tougher qualification rules for residency.

Mr Sarkozy, whose father was a Hungarian immigrant, also said he wanted to restrict some benefit payments to immigrants who had been in the country for 10 years.

Tough new rules

He has often made controversial comments on race and immigration issues, sharply dividing opinion in France.

In 2005, just before the Paris riots, he described young delinquents in the Paris suburbs as "racaille", meaning rabble.

He has said that if re-elected, he will reduce the number of immigrants to France from 180,000 a year to 100,000 and introduce tighter controls on access to welfare benefits.

As president, Mr Sarkozy has already pushed through tough new immigration rules, including the controversial deportation of Roma (Gypsies).

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Francois Fillon caused dismay among Muslim and Jewish groups by suggesting the religious slaughter of animals was out of date.

The controversy started when a TV documentary said last month that all the abattoirs in Paris region only produced halal meat.

So far the election campaign seems to have made relatively little impact on voters.

The latest opinion poll published on Tuesday by CSA showed the Socialist leader Francois Hollande widening his lead over President Sarkozy for the 22 April vote.

It also suggested that the Socialist leader would win decisively by 54% to 46% in a second round of voting on 6 May.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    Just hope the Asians are more tolerant to our children when they emigrate to great cities of the next generation. Business is global & only those who can think that way will succeed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 547.

    I have come legally to France through membership in the Foreign Legion, I am foreign now but will be citizen soon through my service to the great country of France. If you do not wish to work for your privilege to live IN privilege, go back to a place you do not have to work. France is not a free ride!

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    I am appalled at the level of intolerance & ignorance displayed in many of the "popular" comments to this post. Most seem unaware that Nations and nationalities are an artificial construct of the 18th century. The history of humankind is dominated by mobile populations - constant emigration and immigration. Any "foreigners" in France or the UK are often there as a consequence of our imperial past.

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    I quite like this approach, Immigration in France is a huge problem and instead of dancing around the problem like our current government (Fearing that someone somewhere may be offended) they are taking no nonsense measures to try and reduce it. I'm not a huge Sarkozy fan, but at least he's trying to get results.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    This is good news for France. There are many "illegals" living here and, like the UK, scrounging off the state, or working illegally and therefore not paying tax. People legally here for 5 years are entitled to a government (taxpayer) funded pension which higher than a farmer who has worked hard all his life. This is yet another point Sarkozy intends to fix.


Comments 5 of 11


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