[QODLink]
Europe
Sarkozy says 'too many foreigners' in France
French president defends his re-election campaign promise to cut the number of new arrivals by half.
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2012 20:43



The French president has said that there are too many immigrants in France, defending his re-election campaign promise to cut the number of new arrivals by half.

"Our system of integration is working more and more badly, because we have too many foreigners on our territory and we can no longer manage to find them accommodation, a job, a school," Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday.

 

He has been accused of taking to the right in the run up to the April 22 first round of the French presidential election in order to recruit voters tempted by anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen's platform.

Jean Yves Camus, a specialist on European Far Right politics at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations, told al Jazeera:"The shift to the right is not terminated yet, there are many issues where the many extreme conservative parties are pretty much different from the National Front party."

Camus added that the Conservative party and the National Front differ on many key issues like death penalty and immigration, however, the Conservatives may shift their stance in order to gain more votes from the National Front in the upcoming presidential elections.

But, in a television interview, he [Sarkozy] insisted that while immigration could remain "a boon" for France in many areas, it must be controlled more tightly through tougher residency qualifications for newcomers.

"Over the five year term I think that to restart the process of integration in good conditions, we must divide by two the number of people that we welcome, that's to say to pass from 180,000 per year to 100,000," he said.

Sarkozy also announced new plans to limit some welfare benefit payments currently available to immigrant workers to those who have enjoyed residency for 10 years and have worked for five of those.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.