France: Sarkozy rails against illegal immigrants

At a campaign rally, Sarkozy threatened to close France's borders to visa-free travel.

President Nicolas Sarkozy is showing true leadership—to France, and to Europe, said Yves Thréard in the Paris Le Figaro. At a campaign rally this week, Sarkozy said France would close its borders to visa-free travel unless the European Union cracked down on illegal immigration. The EU has a year to revise the rules of Europe’s visa-free zone, governed by the Schengen accord, or France will pull out of that accord. That is Sarkozy’s firm pledge. What a bracing contrast to the whining of his challenger in the upcoming presidential race, the Socialist François Hollande, who just “shakes his little fists” at the new EU treaty that requires member states to have balanced budgets. “Nobody abroad takes him seriously.” Sarkozy, by contrast, is “the advocate for a strong Europe,” one that is no longer “a sieve.” Such a position is worthy of France’s, and Europe’s, respect.

How can anyone respect such a blatant panderer? asked Paul Quinio in the Paris Libération. With his “arrogant edict on the issue of immigration,” Sarkozy “has dragged Europe into the mire of his electioneering.” Trailing in the polls, he is making his play for the right-wing vote. Last week, he dumped on Muslims with his call for the labeling of halal meat. This week, it’s illegal immigration. “We built Europe to protect ourselves, not to expose ourselves,” Sarkozy said, and he even invoked Joan of Arc. But his sloganeering lacks any coherence whatsoever. He criticizes Hollande as anti-European for wanting to renegotiate the still-unratified treaty on fiscal responsibility, but then turns around and vows to pull out of the long-established Schengen accord.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us