State officials would also verify that their children are integrating successfully. If they rule that it’s not the case, the government would have the option to restrict their access to social benefits. Patrick Simon is a senior researcher at France’s Institute of demographic studies, and specialises in immigration and integration. He is against the move, because he says there is no legal way of assessing someone’s integration.
«As researchers we use integration as a concept and as a theory, as researchers. And we try to understand how immigrants make their way in a new society, but it’s really a tough job to define indicators. Each indicator may have a different meaning, each indicator gives us information about integration but they can’t be used as a criteria to allow someone to stay or not in a country, I would say it’s an arbitrary decision.»
“The only answer to the question: “what is national identity in France”, is in the first article of the French constitution. It states that France is a republic, a secular republic, and a democracy that’s all. If you try to say more, it’s very dangerous for democracy, because in a democracy, national identity is not ruled by the government. President Sarkozy and Mister Hortefeux are elected people, they have the legitimacy to make political decisions, but not to define national identity in place of the French people. We don’t have a ministry in charge of freedom, we don’t have a ministry for brotherhood, which is good, and we don’t need a ministry of national identity.”
“We did want to stay together and so we are going through whatever paperwork needs to be done.”
What about French lessons?
Mahmoud Mahamat agrees, he is from Egypt. He works in the construction sector. He told me, in a broken French, that he was grateful that the French government was funding his language lessons…. …but he is opposed to further restrictions to foreigners right’ to a family life:
“If both parents are together, it’s much better for the education of their children. There is always something missing if parents are a continent apart. So I think we have the right to a family life.”
Critics say that the draft immigration bill was leaked to the press conveniently before the second round of the parliamentary election. They believe the aim is to convince former far right national front voters who have cast a ballot for Sarkozy in the presidential election, to give their ballot to Sarkozy’s camp again on Sunday. Immigration and national identity Minister Brice Hortefeux said the bill will be debated by parliament this summer, and that until then, ongoing discussions will decide its final form.Listen to the report:
The intergovernmental conference set to work out the details of a new draft of the European constitution starts next week. Poland is hardening its position on voting rights - and warning member states that it won't hesitate to use its veto power. Polish Radio External Service's Slawek Szefs in Warsaw
Stockholm's International Peace Research says too much focus on the possible possession of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea has diverted attention from the development of a new generation of sophisticated nuclear weapons by three countries in Europe - Russia, France and the UK.
A new website which explains sex - in graphic detail - to teenagers in the Netherlands has come in for both hefty criticism and loud applause. Some say it fills a niche between formal sex education at school and the pornography readily available elsewhere on the net. Others think the site is too explicit. Radio Netherlands' reporter Marijke van den Berg talked with the site's creator.
The video game "Resistance: Fall of Man", pitches players against aliens in a fictional post-war Europe. But when someone realised that one of the scenes plays out in a detailed representation of Manchester Cathedral, rather than interplanetary war, Sony invoked the collective wrath of the Church of England. Deutsche Welle's Lars Bevanger reports from Manchester.
hat brings us to this month's Network Europe Quiz. As we heard in the story, Europe has three Nuclear powers -Russia, France and the United kingdom - but can you name its Neutral countries And here's a clue - there's six of them! If you have the answer, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, and where you are from.
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