French President Nicholas Sarkozy is claiming there’s too many foreigners in France, and defended his plan to cut the number of new arrivals almost in half, the BBC is reporting. In a television debate, Sarkozy, who is trailing in the opinion polls behind Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, said the system for integrating immigrants is “working worse and worse.”
Sarkozy said that while immigration could be a boom for France, it needs to be controlled more tightly with tougher qualification rules for residency. He added that he wants to restrict some benefit payments to immigrants who have lived in France for 10 years.
Sarkozy has often made controversial statements on race and immigration issues, leading to the decrease in public support. One of the latest statements he made includes reducing the number of immigrants in France from 180,000 a year to 100,000. During his current term, Sarkozy has pushed through such tough immigration rules as the controversial deportation of Roma gypsies.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon also caused controversy yesterday among Muslim and Jewish groups. He suggested the religious slaughter of animals is out of date. The controversy started after a television documentary said that all the abattoirs in Paris only produced halal meat.
The latest opinion poll shows that Hollande has widened his lead over Sarkozy for the April 22 vote. It’s also been suggested that the socialist leader will decisively win by 54 percent to 46 percent of the votes during the second round on May 6.
Written by: Karen Benardello