Macron and migrants

Maintaining that mass migration is inescapable and will only accelerate, former investment banker Emmanuel Macron said immigrants are good for France and bring “fresh bursts of creativity and innovation” to society. The presidential race’s establishment candidate also asserted that problems in migrant communities have nothing to do with waves of mass migration but are due to France’s failure to integrate them properly. He also voiced support for positive discrimination in employment and ‘mixing’ neighbourhood demographics in cities.

Noting that France took in fewer migrants last year than other countries in Europe, Macron said, “the subject of immigration should therefore not worry the French population” in his reply to a question from the president of pro-migration NGO Cimade regarding his stance on issues of migration policy. “So why does [the Frenchman] debate? Because [migration] is the source of both confusions and misunderstandings. It’s a form of anxiety or, as some authors would say, cultural insecurity. “But the roots of such feelings lie in the question of integration, not in migratory fact”, the former investment banker added, impressing that mass migration is the “reality” for “all democracies today”.

Macron also echoed comments made last week, in which he announced that the world has entered an age of mass migration which will be inescapable for Europe. He contended that huge migration waves of people from the third world to Europe will only accelerate in years to come as a result of “geopolitical uncertainties and climatic destabilisation”.

“We must not lie to our fellow citizens — immigration is not something which we can avoid,” the presidential candidate said. But he insisted the movement of people to France provides “economic, cultural and social opportunities”. “In all theories of growth, [immigration] is one of the positive determinants. But only provided you know how to take care of it. When we know how to integrate them and to train them, women and men renew our society, giving it a new impetus and fresh bursts of creativity and innovation,” he said.

But Macron noted that “integration remains a problem in France”. Asserting the country has “concentrated all the difficulties, cultural, economic, and social, in the same neighbourhoods”, the independent candidate argued: “We can no longer dismiss mistrust of migrants.” Proposing “stronger urban regeneration” for troubled, migrant-dominated suburbs in France, Macron touted the forcing of a more diverse “social mix” in neighbourhoods and dividing problem students amongst a wider range of schools as his preferred solutions.

The sociologist and writer Mathieu Bock-Côté warned last week that Macron embodies “all that France wants to extricate itself from”. “Excessive globalism and cultural leftism are in contradiction with the aspirations that seem to come from the depths of the country,” he wrote in Le Figaro. Wikileaks revealed Macron was working on an alliance with Hillary Clinton last year before her shock defeat in the U.S. presidential election. The globalist candidate had requested the Democratic presidential candidate’s presence at a private roundtable dinner in October with several European politicians, according to an email published on Wikileaks. At this, a discussion “to evaluate how progressives develop a successful political and economic narrative to counter the right and populists to the left” was due to take place.

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