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Wednesday, 07 March 2012 - 10:52
Nicolas Sarkozy says France has too many foreigners
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said there are too many foreigners in France and the system for integrating them is "working badly".

In a TV debate, Sarkozy defended his plan to cut the number of new arrivals in half if he is re-elected next month.

Sarkozy is trailing in the opinion polls behind the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

He is also competing for conservative voters with the far-right National Front party led by Marine le Pen.

The president said while immigration could be a boon for France, it needed to be controlled more tightly through tougher qualification rules for residency.

Sarkozy, whose father was a Hungarian immigrant, also said he wanted to restrict some benefit payments to immigrants who had been in the country for 10 years.

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