Last week Nicolas Sarkozy, during one of his biggest campaign rallies, just over a month from the elections, indulged once again in anti-immigration rhetoric in a bid to appease potential Front National voters by calling for the greater protection of French borders.
Marine Le Pen, who is anti-immigrant and anti-EU, has stated Sarkozy is simply copying her policies, one of them being to withdraw from the Schengen accord.
Sarkozy went on to say that if elected he would halve immigration from 180,000 to 100,000 per year as well as make the process of obtaining naturalisation much tighter, which he claims will help immigrants integrate better into French society.
Socialist rival Francois Hollande’s campagin have criticised the announcement, which seems to be in response to the rising popularity of the Front National, and is set to become a central campaign theme over the coming weeks.
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President Sarkozy also stated that the European way of life should be defended by way of protectionist policies whereby companies working on national projects could only use products made within the European Union, even though this may be a breach of EU fair competition rules.
Sarkozy closed his speech by re-emphasising the ban on the public wearing of the niqab which he describes as “contrary to the values of the Republic”. He is currently ahead of Le Pen but behind Hollande, the favourite to win the French presidential elections.