Michel Barnier, the former EU chief negotiator on Brexit, considers it necessary to impose a temporary moratorium on immigration in France for 3-5 years until his country puts its immigration policy on a new basis and gives itself time to “build a national consensus on the serious issue”.

Although the right-wing French politician, who has held the position of EU Commissioner for two terms and was head of a ministry in several French governments, only wants to formally announce that he will run in next year’s French presidential election at the end of summer, he has already launched his website. In a paper published in the Wednesday issue of the newspaper “Le Figaro”, he set out specific details of his vision to stop immigration, after he said that “for twenty years, all governments have shown a determination to emigrate in vain.”

Michel Barnier argues that “hundreds of thousands of foreigners currently live in France and do not understand French”. According to “Immigration has suffered”, this produces only losers: “France-born”, who “sometimes do not succumb to the temptations of identity without reason”, “recently French”, and foreigners legally residing in the country, who are often stigmatized, And all that. Living in a state of somewhat or less insecurity. The former minister said that the way out of this impasse might be to freeze immigration for 3-5 years. In his view, the moratorium provides time to “think what is possible and decide what is good”. According to him, the moratorium is a prerequisite for the adoption of an immigration policy in order to have time to build a national consensus on this serious issue.

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The former chief Brexit negotiator proposes a number of concrete measures: ending the unconditional legalization of illegal immigrants, speeding up asylum procedures, tightening criteria for family reunification and reducing the granting of residence permits.

According to Michel Barnier, knowledge of French should be mandatory for long-term visas, the administrative detention time for illegal immigrants waiting for deportation should be increased to six months, and free medical care for immigrants should be reformed. “Foreigners who come to us must have the intention of belonging to French society,” said the former EU commissioner, who also wants to introduce an “enhanced integration pact” to arrivals. This work will also involve the acquisition of language, educational and civic skills.

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