I have never hidden my political ideas, nor my sympathy for one of the candidates running for the next French presidential election. So it won't be a surprise for you when I say that I am appalled by the declaration of another candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, proposing a new French Ministry of Immigration and National Identity. This Ministry, whose responsibilities are otherwise quite shadowy, would be in charge of the integration of immigrants trying to come to France to live there.
I have always said that a better controlled immigration would be a good thing for France and Europe as well. I also strongly believe in a very open society, where political refugees would receive not only shelter but also support and where migrants would also be given opportunities, depending on what they can offer to our countries as well as what our countries can propose to them. And of course, I always thought that the best way of keeping emigration flows bearable both for the origin and destination countries was for the destination ones to sincerely and significantly support the origin countries development. This is obviously not happening at the moment, for different reasons, one of the first being the low level of European cooperation in these matters.
But I also know for sure, and thanks to the Dutch experience, that creating a Ministry of Integration (or whatever you call it) is not the good solution. Creating more bureaucracy is not a human way of answering an urgent problem. Economic and political problems can be handled only with economic and political solution. Mister Sarkozy fell into the same populist trap than Rita Verdonk's VVD in the Netherlands: giving a purely administrative answer to a human issue. I know all too well of the terrible consequences this sometimes had here, with heart breaking stories of people sent back to countries where they could face death (or worse), of children torn off from their families or of decent working and tax paying residents being given 28 days to leave all their life behind them...
So I beg you, my dear fellow French voters, vote for whoever you want, it's up to you as this is (still) a free country. But for good people's sake, don't bring to the Presidency a male version of "Iron Rita". The country of Human Rights and Enlightenment deserves better... just like the country of Humanism deserved better than the VVD.