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Francois Fillon caused dismay among Muslim and Jewish groups by suggesting the religious slaughter of animals was out of date.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 559.

    And another thing.

    The difference between the UK and France towards immigration, is that that the UK promotes multiculturalism, where as in France they promote integration.

  • rate this

    Comment number 558.

    I can't understand why any immigrant would wish to remain ignorant of English, let alone not to make it their first language.
    In an emergency, it might make the difference between life and death for your child!

    True, but some people refuse to learn first aid or to drive even if they have sick relatives. Ever learnt Arabic, Chinese, Greek or Russian? How long did it take?

  • Comment number 557.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 556.

    Any nation that seeks to keep it's own identity needs a limit on immigration. Public opinion has shifted thanks to mass immigration in the UK and if the left don't want to see the rise of the far right then they need to develop a more spohisticated stance than simply putting their fingers in their ears and shouting racism whenever immigration is debated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 555.

    528. TheFitnesseAlliance
    how do you explain the masses of Nigerians, Pakistanis, Chinese and so forth in Spain, Italy and Greece?
    These peoples were economic migrants - forced to seek work all over Europe due to the "restructuring" of their economies by colonial powers, and also encouraged into countries who needed cheap labour, or people to do menial jobs that "Europeans" people would not do..

  • rate this

    Comment number 554.

    Beautifully ignoring the fact that the football team were French, lived French culture, (mostly) worked in, paid taxes in, lived in and represented France.
    Maybe you should realise that integration isnt a problem, whereas turning up, creating a colony, taking advantage and refusing to be part of it may be the problem here

  • rate this

    Comment number 553.


    They were in relation to your earlier posts, not just that post.

    Mike Davies

    What I mean is don't replace a nation's indiginous peoples deliberately with immigration, citing some crime of ancestoral heritage as a justification for discrimination.

  • rate this

    Comment number 552.

    There are too many "Comment Removed" post on this HYS.

    I realise that there are a lot of xenophobic bigots about, but didn't expect there to be so many inflammatory comments in one thread.

    And to whoever marked down my previous comment. (530). It's true.
    According to the French constitution, when you naturalise you are French. Not Somali, not Algerian, not Libyan, but French

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    That's because immigration happened maybe 1% every 20 years before globalisation, France has had 25% of it's population turned into migrants with no loyalty to France or her culture. Migration is natural, Mass migration is genocide.

    Really, it never did the UK, US or Australia any harm and the US almost voted German its official language. How would the UK have coped then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    Ironic. 100 years ago the French were the foreigners sucking the riches out of other countries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    //Oh I say another superb goal
    9 Minutes ago
    We can't let the extreme left shut down the debate on immigration anymore. People should be able to air their views shared on here without fear of being labelled a racist. It's ridiculous and damaging!//

    And it doesn't work any more. It's their only argument, and it's been undermined by over-use, and their own, and many minorities', racism.

  • 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 546.

    Adieu Monsieur Sarkosy!
    Your speech on immigration was not enough to keep you into office.
    We will hear of you again next year when your lovely Italian wife will start singing again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.

    A comparison is there, between the murder of 3 Africans, in Finland, (one ''jumped'' from his flat when Finnish men burst into his flat, and the 3rd shot in by the one the local counselor announced should be awarded a hero's medal for killing a ''negro'' & helping the ''war') & Sarkosy's comment. The 3rd victim was about to be Finnish. France has plenty overseas territories. Take away passports?

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    There didn't seem to be many complaints on immigration coming from France when a team full of North Africans lifted the Jules Rime in 1998.

    They were all proud Frenchmen on that day. A man called Zizu was the star of the team I recall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 543.


    I don't think that saying 'I don't suppose that I'll see you for a curry' is either hateful or indeed a fallacy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 542.

    I don't see him stating the economic reasoning behind this, it is a fair point if there are a large number of immigrants not contributing to the economy. But I imagine that like the UK, immigrant labour is often more productive, they work longer hours, for less money, and are willing to do jobs most nationals believe they are too good for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 541.

    @512. JF

    “We should give each nationality it's own homeland,”

    Do you really mean that? Which would you inhabit? English? Welsh? Scottish? Irish? Norman? Saxon? Viking? Celt? Pict? Roman?

    Should we repatriate everybody to their ancestral homelands? Perhaps you might end up in Norway or Denmark or even further afield if we go back far enough. Does this still sound like a good idea?

  • rate this

    Comment number 540.

    483 BigM - are you being deliberately naive? They can't help being poor but they can help coming to a country whose culture and religion they do not respect and expecting that country to change their ways to accommodate them. They can help helping themselves to our money by way of benefits. They can help trying to radicalise their own and our young. Take your head out the sand and see the truth.


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