UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out at critics today, who have accused him of flirting with the far-right National Front with a proposal to create a minister of immigration and national identity.
"I say that there is a national identity which is not reducible with an ethnos group. It is shocking? I say that the immigrants who will join to us must adhere to this national identity. It is shocking? (...)
France is not an ethnos group. France is not a race. France is a history and a community of values, it is an identity. (...)
Today, there are three ministries which are occupied of Immigration: Foreign Affairs, social Affairs and Interior (...) thus there is no immigration policy (...) One needs a ministry for that.
Sarkozy also strongly denied that he had made any deal with Jean-Marie Le Pen, even though he called for elected officials to get Le Pen on the ballot.
"I never made an agreement with anyone. Not with Mr. Besancenot nor with Mr. Le Pen. Besides I believe I am the politician who faced Mr. Le Pen the most. I do not like his ideas.
I always fought Jean-Marie the PEN (but) do you consider it normal that somebody who was in the second turn (of the presidential election of) 2002 cannot contribute in 2007?
I think that, for the democracy, that the extreme-left and the extreme-right-hand side are not represented is not the spirit of the democracy."
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