Saturday, November 25, 2006

Royal stakes out immigration position

Socialist Presidential candidate Segolene Royal took a strong pro-immigrant stand this Saturday. In a speech in Bondy, a suburb of Paris, Royal told an audience from some of the poorer immigrant districts that
France not only needs you, but it is you who are the future of France...
[Integration is] a question of survival, It is the main condition for reviving the economic machine.
She followed these statements with a proposal to subsidize small business ventures begun by youth in poorer areas with anywhere from US$2600 to $13,000.

This won't cure the sluggish French economy, but it is certainly a good idea to speed up immigrant integration through economic means. Sarkozy has probably already lost most immigrant votes for his tough policies, so Royal's approach is probably designed to appeal not just to immigrants, but to the more centrist French who are worried about preserving and protecting French culture from a foreign-born and minority population that has not integrated well. Start-up subsidies are a start, but Royal really needs to lay down a clear position on labor reform to see where she really stands economically.

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