Expats should take French nationality - FN
THE Front National has defended its discriminatory policies as new polls show Marine Le Pen has a seven-point lead in the first round of the presidential election.
English-speakers have expressed concern over FN pledges such as taxing employers an extra 10% on the salaries of any non-French workers and a ban on existing and future dual nationality with a non-European state.
Other policies include restricting family allowance to French families, slashing net immigration, a referendum on leaving the EU and a pledge to enshrine a principle of ‘putting the French first’ in the constitution. On the tax plan, Roger Haigh of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce in Dordogne said firms would probably still take on non-French workers if there was a “real need” for their skills but “if Le Pen was elected – and I don’t think she will be – and put it through there would be uproar in the EU and the same would be applied to the French in the UK.”
Retired US medic Doc Curlin, who lives in Nice, said: “The dual nationality ban is a source of anxiety and concern. There is a general revulsion towards this plan of super-nationalism which would throw people’s lives into a confused or complicated state.”
A senior FN spokesman, Joffrey Bollée, told Connexion that fears among British expats towards such discriminatory policies are misplaced and that they need not fear they would lose any rights due to Brexit if the FN wins.
Mr Bollée agreed the tax plan would break EU rules by discriminating against EU nationals but said it would be pursued anyway as the FN wants to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, followed by a referendum – in which the FN would campaign to leave.
Long-term expats would be encouraged to take French nationality but a longer residence period may be needed, such as 10 years. It would also be tougher on criminal records or lifestyles “not like French people”. New arrivals may find tighter rules, said Mr Bollée, but those who are not a “burden” to the state would still be welcome. “We recognise our countries have common interests and want solidarity, especially as the UK will be leaving the EU before us. “We’ll be in the same boat and we have no doubt we can come to a good agreement with favourable conditions for our citizens reciprocally.”
Dual nationality with France and a European country, including the UK, would be permitted due to their ‘cultural’ affinities and geographical proximity to France, however, people from other countries would be forced to choose one or the other. The 10% tax would be on new contracts and was justified, Mr Bollée said, because French firms often take foreign workers over the French because they accept lower pay.
“If the employer is looking for a particular skill-set and thinks only a foreigner can meet the criteria, we think they’ll be willing to accept this tax, but it may dissuade people who want to recruit a foreigner because they think they can pay them less. "The chairman of the British Community Committee of France, Christopher Chantrey, said the promises were not enough to make Britons in
France “feel secure” and hardening nationality criteria when the process is already often “horrendously difficult” was unwelcome. He noted that some policies could only apply if France left the
EU and he hoped the FN notes “the horrors of preparing for Brexit that are unfolding”. Expat rights campaigner Brian Cave, of Ecreu, said it appeared established Britons in France would be “safe enough”, especially if pension and healthcare rights are protected by the UK. However, he said plans for “Frexit” make him fear the EU could “crumble” entirely, causing economic harm. “What is more a Frexit would mean the UKFrance relationship would have to be renegotiated.” He said the 10% tax could hit many people – eg. a young person from an expat family seeking a first job, or a working-age person looking to move to France.