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Francois Fillon caused dismay among Muslim and Jewish groups by suggesting the religious slaughter of animals was out of date.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 479.

    What many posters don't understand is that when France and other rich nations go to poor nations and completely destroy their land, the only alternative for the natives is to go where FOOD is, and that's France, the UK, US, etc...

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    Sarkozy is trawling for National Front votes, which is despicable. He seems to have forgotten that France needed immigrants after WWI and encouraged "dirty jobs" immigration after WWII. The latter group contributed substantially to the "30 glorious years." And do the names MacMahon, Poniatowski, Kopa, Reggiani, Vartan, Makine, Zola, among others - including Sarkozy - mean nothing to him?

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    471 what are you on about.
    are you prepared to up you taxes to pay for this compo from Jamaica.
    what about the Irish or Scots maybe most of africa or indeed the world.
    stop harping on about the past.
    i am looking ahead to what kind of country my granddaughter will have to live in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.

    What a shame the BBC find themselves incapable of holding our politicians to account on the one issue most sane people get so vexed about.
    I will say the BBC has improved a little because at least they allow these debates to even happen, which was not the case only a few months ago, though they still have issue's managing the debate in a fair manner and the objectivity is still poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    Be careful with a name like Braumeister1, that you aren't accused of hypocracy and not being properly 'integrated', The xenophobics might tell you too to 'einwandern' back to where you came from.

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    9 Minutes ago
    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//

    Though that doesn't stop pc xenophobes thinking Brit/French etc are responsible for all the world's woes. Not bad, considering we don't exist....

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    Alas, racism is the last resort of this particular scoundrel.....Have Karcher, will travel !

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    Segregation does not equal multiculturalism or diversity. and respecting cultures/religions does not mean we have to diminish 'Britishness' or fall over ourselves to accomodate others. It does not mean we have to allow visitors to do or have at the expense of our own residents.
    Sarkozy wants to fix it before its too late - hes seen the damage that can be done across the channel

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    I love the way Britain and France spend so much time complaining about foreigners on their soil; yet simultaneously have troops occupying countries all round the world - If Europe hadn't pillaged the world's poorest countries, their populations would not have to follow their wealth to Europe. Jamaica's recent call for compensation from the colonial period is exactly what I'm talking about.

  • Comment number 470.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • 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 468.

    I was visiting the south of France and was amazed that most of the language used was English in many villages. That's because of the EC relocated people such as Germans, Dutch English, Scots etc living there, as part of the EC pact. They have every right to be there except they should try to learn French. Sarkozy's beef is with the 7 million immigrants including illegals from North Africa.

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    Too much immigration is a problem. It waters down the culture, the natives feel less and less proud of their country, put less effort in to making it a better place, resulting in less people creating a community.

    Tourism is great for the economy. Immigration is only good if tightly controlled.

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    As a meat eating, Guardian reader, I really enjoy this column. With family across the globe (including parts of London & Northern England so bemoaned on here) & having lived abroad I get a real laugh out of the Daily Mail readers contributions to the HYS board. People are surprisingly the same across the world!

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    Boris 424

    Don't get on your high horse Boris old boy. And please dont put words in my mouth. Did I mention racism or xenophobia. We all know that Sarko is electioneering and pandering to the LCD. And why are you relating this countries problems with that of France.

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    I'm a son of an immigrant - my mother worked over 40 years for the NHS and refused any financial assistance she was entitled to. Shes British and seen the decline - its no longer asians boosting the economy with shops. Ask anyone whos worked frontline for more than 10 years. Its changed. it i'm with Sarkozy and my mum who considers herself British and abhors this state of affairs

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    This world has too many racists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    2 Minutes ago

    You've made two massive asumptions there.

    That I feel guilty - and that I'm white....

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    We are now living in a global village. Sarkosy likes to have cheap china products but hates to have chinese entering his country. Loves to bank in Financial hubs like London but doesn't want to see Brits settling in his country. And by the way The immigration didn't just happen. Its France's Just reward for centuries of colonialism & raping of other country's resources. You reap what you sow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    446 Simple Simon,your thoughts echo mine and I suspect millions of others.Take the Guardianistas off this comment page and you will be left with a truer reflection of the thoughts and opinions of the majority of the thinking population.D.C.& N.C. need to deal with the immigration problem urgently.The tax payer has no money left to fund this multiculture ideology. No work, no tax paid. No benefits


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