France Makes it Harder to Become French

France 24, December 30, 2011

France will be making it harder for foreigners to seek French citizenship as of January. Critics say the new requirements, which include tough language tests and allegiance to “French values”, are an electoral ploy that panders to the far right.

Foreigners seeking French nationality face tougher requirements as of January 1, when new rules drawn up by Interior Minister Claude Guéant come into force.

Candidates will be tested on French culture and history, and will have to prove their French language skills are equivalent to those of a 15-year-old mother tongue speaker. They will also be required to sign a new charter establishing their rights and responsibilities.

“Becoming French is not a mere administrative step. It is a decision that requires a lot of thought”, reads the charter, drafted by France’s High Council for Integration (HCI). In a more obscure passage, the charter suggests that by taking on French citizenship, “applicants will no longer be able to claim allegiance to another country while on French soil”, although dual nationality will still be allowed.

Guéant, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, described the process as “a solemn occasion between the host nation and the applicant”, adding that migrants should be integrated through language and “an adherence to the principals, values and symbols of our democracy”. He stressed the importance of the secular state and equality between women and men: rhetoric perceived largely as a snipe at Muslim applicants, who make up the majority of the 100,000 new French citizens admitted each year.

France’s interior minister has made it clear that immigrants who refuse to “assimilate” into French society should be denied French citizenship.

Earlier this year, Guéant intervened personally to ensure an Algerian-born man living in France was denied French nationality because of his “degrading attitude” to his French wife.

That followed an earlier push by France’s former Immigration Minister Eric Besson to revise existing laws in order to strip polygamists of their acquired citizenship.

Pandering to the far right?

Guéant has come under criticism numerous times over the past year for allegedly pandering to the whims of far-right voters in his efforts to secure a second term for Sarkozy in 2012. The UMP has edged progressively further right over the course of Sarkozy’s term, even as the far-right National Front party continued to bite into its pool of voters.

Marine Le Pen, the popular leader of the anti-immigration National Front, has been campaigning in favour of a ban on dual citizenship in France, which she blames for encouraging immigration and weakening French values. While several UMP members have endorsed her stance, Guéant has stopped short of calling for a ban on dual nationality, largely because of the legal difficulties such a move would entail.

But the interior minister has taken a hard line on immigration, announcing plans to reduce the number of legal immigrants coming to France annually from 200,000 to 180,000 and calling for those convicted of felony to be expelled from the country.

François Hollande, the Socialist Party’s candidate in forthcoming presidential elections, described Guéant’s stance as “the election strategy of a right wing ready to do anything in order to hold on to power”, adding that his own party would tackle all criminals “irrespective of their nationality”.

Under further proposals put forward by the ruling UMP party, non-French children who would normally be naturalised at the age of 18 (those who are born in the country and have spent most of their childhood there) would instead have to formally apply to the state.

Should Sarkozy and his party secure a second term in 2012, analysts predict a return to an immigration stance that hasn’t been seen in France for almost two decades. They point to a case of déjà vu: in 1993 Charles Pasqua, then France’s interior minister, coined the slogan “zero immigration” and introduced a bill that made it virtually impossible for children born in France to non-French parents to be naturalised.

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  • highduke

    Jefferson would be impressed. At least I hope he would, him being a Francophile. Let’s hope France returns to the classical liberalism of the late 18th century that Jefferson wanted for America. And from there we can rebuild traditional culture. Let’s hope Le Pen wins and pulls a Putin: nursing French nationalism among her people to the extent that she can barely control it. That marks a successful ethnos! And weak government. But when the ethnos is so cohesive, consensus soon follows.

  • scott81

    France or England seem to be having a race to see who can be the first Muslim European country. Muslims will never accept “French secular” values over their religious beliefs. Islam is as much a cultural way of life as it is a belief system. A lot of European countries are headed for civil war within a few decades

  • Anonymous

    What’s wrong with pandering to the Right? We have been pandering to the Left, and their pet Minorities, for over 100 years.

  • Madison Grant

    Must be election time again!

    Every time Nick the Neocon Sarkozy runs for President he talks tough about immigration and even deports some illegals.

    After the election it’s back to business as usual.

  • Anonymous

    I’m surprised.

    The left in France actually being smart.

    By pandering, they hope to stems the tide.

    If the fight against it they will cause a bigger backlash and more polarization that will eventually occur due to current situation and dynamics going on.

    By doing this they can prolong their place in power.

    Although this alone won’t be enough and eventually the shift will occur.

  • Anonymous

    #1: If France needs to return to any traditionalism it is that of Catholicism. It takes a whole culture to sustain the family. Not just a philosophical system, especially one that hasn’t been known to build anything. But rather to destroy. Men will have to turn from berating feminists to being responsible for and heads of families, clans, tribes, and nations. It has been awhile and is something they will need to learn on the fly!

  • aj

    Their big “far right” plan is to allow in 180,000 immigrants per year while France is lit up by the glow of burning cars and the no-go areas start to grow into the size of mini countries governed by Sharia Law??

    Who cares if the Immigrants are forced to learn about French history anyway? I studied politics and international relations in college, I probably learned more about Chinese history and politics than a lot of Chinese students, doesn’t make me the slightest big Chinese. Who cares if an African learns to parrot trivia about Napoleon or Joan of Arc?

  • paul rim

    The whole pro immigration, multicultural paradigm that has such a grip on western nations needs to be broken very soon or western civilisation itself will be broken. Tinkering Sarkozy style is a waste of time we need revolutionary change & we need it now. Get a sense of urgency Francais! Vote Marie Le Pen! What a wonderful breathe of fresh air her election would bring.

  • Kenelm Digby

    Gaullist French politicians have the unappealing habit of talking tough about immigration immediately prior to an election, but actually doing nothing to control and limit it whilst actually in office.

    In any event it’s too late. Decades of cowardice, appeasement and prevarication by the Gaullists will ensure that France will not be French (and possibly western Europe’s first Islamic state), sometime this century.

    The French people had many an opportunity to vote for Le Pen and save their nation, but each time they rejected him.

    In the final analysis they only have themselves to blame, so little sympathy should be given.

    As I’ve said before the case history of France and its immigration disaster is valuable because it serves as a moral, an object lesson to the inevitable consequences of uncontrolled third world immigration and the evil of a cowardly and unintelligent political class.Those states of eastern and central Europe not yet blighted by third world immigration should take very great heed.

  • Fred from France

    They point to a case of déjà vu: in 1993 Charles Pasqua, then France’s interior minister, coined the slogan “zero immigration” and introduced a bill that made it virtually impossible for children born in France to non-French parents to be naturalised

    Virtually impossible? All they had to do was to express their will to become French between 16 and 21. Then the citizenship was granted automatically. They never failed to apply.

  • Sylvie

    Who cares if the Immigrants are forced to learn about French history anyway? I studied politics and international relations in college, I probably learned more about Chinese history and politics than a lot of Chinese students, doesn’t make me the slightest big Chinese. Who cares if an African learns to parrot trivia about Napoleon or Joan of Arc?

    That’s right. And when they fail the test, they’ll just be allowed to repeat it until they pass. Then, Viola! New French citizen!

  • Robert Sharpe

    ‘Who cares if an African learns to parrot trivia about Napoleon or Joan of Arc?’

    AJ is right. In the end, all that matters is blood.

  • Mr.White

    Why not make French citizenship imnpossible? Would that really be so terrible?

  • Anonymous

    6 — Anonymous wrote at 11:29 PM on December 30:

    “#1: If France needs to return to any traditionalism it is that of Catholicism. It takes a whole culture to sustain the family. Not just a philosophical system, especially one that hasn’t been known to build anything. But rather to destroy. Men will have to turn from berating feminists to being responsible for and heads of families, clans, tribes, and nations. It has been awhile and is something they will need to learn on the fly!”

    If you understood how suppressive the Churches history in France and Quebec has been, you would understand why Catholicism is unlikely the answer for France or any Western nation. And you are completely wrong about philosophy. It is the tradition of Western Philosophy that is responsible for nearly ALL Western success in the past, and it worked to free the Western mind from the superstitious, fearful rule of Christianity. As Lucretius wrote; “All religion is; Sublime to the ignorant, Useful to politicians, and Ridiculous to the philosopher.”

    Critical thinking and forensic, scientific method all has its root in the Greek tradition of philosophy.

  • Anonymous

    The trick here is that most people in the former African colonies speak French. This is actually a move to prevent English speakers from becoming residents and citizens.

    I happen to see a show that provided some sort of example of the current French female population. Nine out of ten looked like they had some amount of black genetics, even a blond who had a very Africanized face. It was horribly depressing. There are effectively no or very few true (Frankish) French genotypes left in France.

  • Anonymous

    It seems to be a step in the right direction, but the visa problem has to be tackled as well. Many people live in France or any nation on visas.

    Transgenetics is an interesting and emerging class of genetic analysis wherein genes are responsible for things like language and cultural affinity. Tribal memory is transmitted in people who may not even live in a nation or speak the mother tongue any longer. Transgenetics provide the foundation of what it is to be part of an ethnic group. Mixing races, and even national types decreases the effect of Transgenetics.

  • norm

    In France having naturalization as French means little. Under Vichy all foreigners (many of them Jews) were stripped of citizenship so that they could be turned over to the Nazis for shipment to the eastern death camps.

  • Anonymous

    But isn’t it sometimes worse to keep immigrants under “immigrants” status in some cases?

    I read in the past that in some countries “immigrants” have unfair advantage over citizens and native locals when receiving admissions to prestigious schools or applying for jobs?