The French Presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of shifting to the far-right with plans for a single ministry for immigration, and French National Identity.
He says it is to simplify immigration issues, currently handled by three different ministries.
“How can we integrate people if we don’t tell them who we are, what France is about, what our values are?” he asked. “It is our duty to tell them.”
The announcement came after a storming performance in the polls by the centrist Francois Bayrou who has come from nowhere to neck-and-neck with the two main contenders.
“We are the French Republic,” Bayrou said. “The world must remember that. France has principles, and the main one is that the country is not founded on race.”
The General Secretary of the socialists, Francois Hollande said, “Why make the connection between immigration and national identity? I think the answer is in the words, the use of vocabulary.” He said, “Sarkozy is giving a nod to the policies of the National Front and the extreme right.”
Sarkozy’s socialist opponent, Segolene Royal, called it a pretty low-down proposal saying, far from threatening French identity, migrant workers often do the jobs which the French don’t want to do.