Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia's Parliament votes on new Government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French court rules #burkini ban "clearly illegal"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Biden in Turkey, Colombia Peace Deal, Ethiopia Olympic Protest (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Earthquake in Italy, French Burkini Ruling (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The hidden secrets of Les Invalides

Read more

FOCUS

Pro-Opposition stronghold Port-Gentil feverishly awaits presidential elections

Read more

ENCORE!

Alexis Michalik: treading the boards in the footsteps of 'Edmond'

Read more

REPORTERS

Getting away with murder in DR Congo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Why does Italy refuse to see the seismic risk?'

Read more

France

France looks to fast-track asylum applications

© AFP

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2013-10-24

France’s tough-talking Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday that the asylum process needs to be speeded up to stop applicants becoming, “too used to being in France.”

France’s tough-talking Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday that he planned to halve the time it takes to process asylum applications.

His announcement comes a month before a parliamentary report on asylum reform is due to be published.

Applications in France can take up to 18 months – by which time asylum seekers get “too used to being in France and lose contact with their home countries”, according to one of the report’s authors.

Valls more popular than Hollande

The French have much more confidence in Interior Minister Manuel Valls than they do in President François Hollande, according to a poll published Thursday.

Four fifths of French voters believe Hollande will not win the next presidential election in 2017, the Harris Interactive poll for French daily Le Figaro revealed.

In contrast, 54 percent of those surveyed said they believed Valls would beat a right-wing candidate in the 2017 presidential election. Only 16 percent said Hollande could achieve that.

Valls said on Wednesday the period was "far too long" and should be shortened to six months with nine months set as an absolute maximum.

His announcement follows the much-publicised expulsion of a 15–year-old Roma (Gypsy) girl and her family to Kosovo, a move that Valls defended as legitimate and lawful.

The minister also sparked controversy last month when he said Roma migrants from Eastern Europe should be kicked out of France, but polls suggest that three in four voters agree with him.

Right to citizenship?

On Wednesday the opposition centre-right UMP party weighed in on the immigration debate, saying France’s cherished “droit du sol” (right of soil), which gives children born in France of foreign parents automatic citizenship when they turn 18, should be reviewed.

“If one is born of non-French parents living illegally in France, that family should neither assume that they can stay in France nor that the child has the right to citizenship,” the party’s leader Jean-François Copé said.

“The same applies for children born to foreign parents who are here legally. They should not expect automatic citizenship. It should and must be applied for,” Copé added.

France’s debate on immigration comes as the far-right National Front (FN), which wants to slash the number of migrants and asylum-seekers allowed to settle in France, gains political traction ahead of local elections due in March 2014.

Revoking the “droit du sol” is a key FN policy, and on Wednesday the anti-Europe and anti-immigration party mocked Copé for a “total lack of sincerity” amid media accusations that the UMP was desperately hunting for voters in “FN territory”.
 

Date created : 2013-10-24

  • FRANCE

    Roma teen deportation was right, says French minister

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French report into Roma teen's deportation says father was abusive

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Paris students intensify protests over deportations

    Read more

COMMENT(S)