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French President Sarkozy says 'too many foreigners in France'

March 7, 2012 - PARIS

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said there are far too many foreigners present in France and vowed to reduce the number of new arrivals by half.

As the country's presidential election campaign speeds up, Sarkozy remained adamant about France's efforts to incorporate foreign arrivals into its culture and society becoming destabilized.

"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," quoted Sarkozy, as saying during a television debate.

"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 we welcome, that's to say to pass from 180,000 per year to 100,000," he said.

Sarkozy has been blamed for moving to the right in the run up to the presidential election in order to recruit voters tempted by anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen.

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.

France will vote in the first round of a presidential election on April 22.


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