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Portuguese immigrants show France what successful assimilation looks like

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By Ricardo Figueira
Portuguese immigrants show France what successful assimilation looks like

Here in France, the largest foreign community is the Portuguese. It has assimilated into local life and is considered to be one of the best integrated groups.

The Portuguese hold on to their traditions: their food and of course football.
There about one million people in France who are Portuguese or of Portuguese background (including second generation and dual nationals). About half that number have just Portuguese citizenship, so they are not entitled to vote.

In France, polls and statistics based on national or ethnic heritage are forbidden by law. So, it’s difficult to say how the Portuguese community and their children vote. It is a community very much assimilated into French society, so we believe their votes are similar to the national numbers. In the first round, there were Portuguese supporters for all candidates. Now, there are also supporters for both of the finalists.

Euronews reporter Ricardo Figueira spoke with Emilie Fernandes Ramalho who has a Portuguese father and a Spanish mother. She is a town councillor for Marine Le Pen’s Front National.

For her, Le Pen’s anti-immigration stance does not conflict with her family background.

“I am the daughter of immigrant parents,” she said. “They came to France and assimilated. They found a job to earn a living. I am not against immigration, I am against [immigrants] relying on public money [and not working].

Lidia Fathallahcame to France in 1980 and became naturalised soon afterwards.

For her and her entrepreneur son Claudio, there are no doubts: Emmanuel Macron is their man. For this 68-year-old pensioner, the candidate’s youth is a plus.

“Finally! If we’re going to have a new president, let it be someone young,” she mused. “We’re fed up with these gentlemen who are over 50 and over 60… not that they’re old, but… Why not giving a chance to this 39-year old man?”

There is strong support for Marine Le Pen amongst French-Portuguese first-time voters.

The opinions of this community are very much in line with those of the rest of the country.