Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

France

Poll shows most French back 'National identity' debate

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-02

Sixty percent of French voters support a plan put forward by Immigration Minister Eric Besson for a vast public debate on France's "national identity", a poll published on Sunday shows.

AFP - Well over half of French voters back government plans for a vast public debate on France's "national identity," attacked by the opposition as pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment, a poll showed Sunday.
   
Sixty percent of the French, including 72 percent of right-wing voters and half of left-wingers, back the plan tabled by Immigration Minister Eric Besson and set to kick off this week, according to the CSA poll for Le Parisien.
   
Another 35 percent thought it a bad thing, while the rest had no opinion.
   
President Nicolas Sarkozy -- who made national identity a key campaign theme when he was running for the presidency in 2007 -- is also to take part in a debate on the subject in December.
   
Public meetings are to kick off Monday in some 450 government offices around the country, involving campaigners, students, parents and teachers, unions, business leaders and French and European lawmakers.
   
The debates will end with a congress early next year on the twin questions of "what it means to be French today" and "what immigration contributes to our national identity."
   
The Socialist opposition has accused the government of pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment to shore up support on the right, and warns it risks alienating France's large communities of immigrant descent.
   
But Besson, who is also minister for integration and national identity, says the debate aims to reassert republican values, not to stigmatise France's large immigrant communities, including from its former African colonies.
   
Le Parisien's poll asked respondents to choose from a list of symbols representing France's "identity".
   
Top came the French language -- cited as "important" or "very important" by 98 percent -- followed by the tricolour French flag with 88 percent and the Marseillaise national anthem by 77 percent.
   
But 72 percent also said that the custom of "welcoming immigrants" was an important part of French identity.
   
The national identity issue has reemerged as Sarkozy seeks to reassure right-wing voters following a storm over the sex tourist past of his culture minister, Frederic Mitterrand, and a nepotism row surrounding his son Jean.
   
A senior Socialist deputy said the circumstances in which the debate was launched "shows that France is sick."
   
Alone on the left, Sarkozy's defeated rival for the presidency Segolene Royal -- who once asked supporters to sing the Marseillaise at her rallies -- argued France needs to "reconquer the symbols of our nation" from the far-right.
   
Meanwhile dissenting voices in Sarkozy's own camp have criticised the plans, including his own junior minister for youth and solidarity Martin Hirsch.
   
"France does not have an identity problem," said Hirsch, calling it a "100-percent political debate."

 

Date created : 2009-11-01

  • EUROPE

    EU considers chartering flights to send illegal immigrants home

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Three Afghan migrants deported to Kabul

    Read more

COMMENT(S)