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Francois Fillon caused dismay among Muslim and Jewish groups by suggesting the religious slaughter of animals was out of date.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 219.

    Surprise!!! When France was busy forcing French language on African countries and UK forcing English in South Asia, they couldn't imagine it will bite back in future! What goes around comes around!

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    186. ClaudeBalls

    Not quite seeing your point but want to - please clarify?

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    I am British married to a Dutch man I have lived in Holland where I was treated as a Foreigner not a member of the E.U having to go to the foreign police to sign a document once a month, Holland Germany and Denmark where we are now living do not support foreigners by handing out money you have to support yourself, Britain is far to soft and people know it they are told what they can claim for etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    He is going in absolutely the right direction. No benefits whatever for any immigrants until they worked and provided taxes from which they can draw down. No benefits whatever to dependants until the tax payer has also paid enough in.Make the airlines and ship owner return those forthwith who arrive with no or bogus papers. Move passport control alongside the ships or planes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Is Sarkozy saying he wants out of the EU? EU rules permits all nationals within the EU to travel and work in the country of their choice within it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    It states in the article "Mr Sarkozy, whose father was a Hungarian immigrant". So basically he’s saying, I got into this country and have enjoyed the benefits but we can’t let anyone else in because there’s not enough to share. You couldn’t think of a better example for immigration than that the son of an immigrant growing up to be the president of France. He is a joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    To the people here who think they are making an original point by referring to the fact that France consists of many foreignors - Italians, Algerians etc. This is rather dumb. France, the UK, like almost every country in the world, is a historic mix of races, cultures, whatever. Not worth mentioning.When oponents of multiculture refer to foreignors they mean those who are encouraged not to belong

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    189. JasonEssex

    Shock, horror. The Iraqi and Libyan governments were limiting the amount of access to oil for UK/US companies, and military intervention followed under the guise of liberation/democratisation, whilst ignoring even more brutal and dictatorial regimes such as Saudi Arabia, who is considered a close ally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211. is said,"is the last refuge of a political scoundrel"trailing in the polls and the right will seek refuge in the popularist issue's.he his no different to the torys. they use the same subject matter when things are going wrong.wellfare and immigration.bedfellows of the nasty and poor in spirit or only helps to sullie the debate,which is long overdue on immigration.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    What is a foreigner? Is it simply you come from another country or is if you retain your “other place” identity/culture and refuse to integrate. I was born/raised in England but I am of European stock. I participate in British society the same as any English person and have no requirement/desire that England changes in any way to accommodate my ethic/cultural heritage. Am I still a foreigner?

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    On the one hand Mr Sarkozy wants to be at the heart of an inclusive Europe with ever widening membership and on the other he doesnt want foriegners coming into his country. But neither Europe nor dealing fairly with the legacy of France's colonies gets domestic votes. So Mr Sarkozy doesnt care about those issues this week and quickly invents a new policy to grab some votes, no surprise there then!

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Watching the UK border agency program on TV and it's operation in Calais, the man might well have a point. But then reap as you sow. Have open borders and you have an uncontrolled influx of migration. What I like to know is how does he propose to close the door....the horse has already gone through it. The French seem much at ease with immigration as long as it's just passing through.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    No suprise here!
    Headline story is real news to Britain and what does the BBC have us talking about??
    France and America.
    BBC can you not work for the people who pay your wages?

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    @sassie57 #170

    "....there is over a Trillion pounds a year being spent on the E.U by Britain just to be a member alone ..."

    You have a serious problem with maths,my friend.
    Our total contribution is barely 20 billion and we receive more or less half of it back.
    The net contrbution is about 10 billion, which is a hundred times less than your trillion.
    The information is in the public domain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    I broke the "house"rules????and my posting was deleted??
    Freedom of speech and all that!!!!
    Ah well guess I'm only British after all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    Sarkozy knows that he's finished so he's trying to steal votes from the National Front. If he'd kept his 2007 promises, those who voted for him back then would have stayed faithful and France would not have lost its Triple A.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    @181. Capella2009 You are spot on, I've said this for years. If everyone treated the country like they would their own home we would be in a better situation. There would be much more respect for others going about their everyday business and much less respect for criminals, spongers etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    @cherryblossomengland (27)

    "I discovered that she would be the ONLY child in her class with English as 1st language. [...] I moved 300 miles so that she would not be at a disadvantage."

    Very interesting. So what causes clusters of immigrants is, at least in part, natives choosing to move away from them. I'll remember that next time someone complains about immigrants failing to integrate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    181 Capello - brilliant comment. Why is it in UK we have to tippytoe around this subject in case someone with an axe to grind jumps up shout "Racist". Our hospitality is abused daily by those who come here with no desire whatsoever to integrate into our lives. Why should we have to change to accommodate them? You bet I'm sick of it and angry too. Wake up politicans. MULTICULTURISM DOES NOT WORK!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    abriskil (post 70)

    When the countries listed became independent, they made it abundantly clear that all the colonial past and the colonials themselves were no longer welcome - today people of the ex-colonies see their future as being better with the old colonial masters.

    Does that not say to you that something is very wrong in the current management of some ex-colonies?


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