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French want EU migration control

Six out of 10 say they want to stop the free movement of people in EU countries

SIX out of 10 French people want tighter controls on the number of EU migrants heading to the country in search of work, a survey has found.

The findings of the online poll come days after a Swiss referendum found in favour of tighter immigration controls - and must come as unwelcome news for François Hollande’s government ahead of the European elections and as it steps up its economic charm offensive to lure overseas investment to France.

The results are similar to a 2012 study where 59% of respondents in France wanted the Schengen treaty, which says that EU citizens have the right to live and work anywhere they choose within the Union, to be reformed.

According to the latest study, 75% of Front National supporters called for tighter restrictions, followed by 68% of right-wing UMP voters and 46% of left-leaning voters.

Earlier this month, 50.3% of Swiss voters decided in a referendum to curb immigration, which means a 2002 accord with the EU that allowed the free movement of EU and Swiss citizens will need to be renegotiated.

Jérôme Fourquet of Ifop, which carried out the study of 968 people, published by the website Atlantico, said: “The results demonstrate a distrust of European integration, with the opening of the borders. As with Switzerland, there is a demand for greater control.

“One of the cornerstones of European integration is the free movement of people. However, a majority of French people want to change this.”

Photo: MPD01605

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