FRANCE

French politicians back British move to limit migration across Europe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 8:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 8:58pm
AFP

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One of France's top centre-right politicians has backed British Prime Minister David Cameron's call for limits on the free movement of workers across Europe.

Rachida Dati, justice minister under former president Nicolas Sarkozy, said migration would be a major issue in elections to the European Parliament.

Writing in business daily Les Echos, Dati welcomed Cameron's proposal to allow national governments to impose quotas to limit immigration from other European Union countries.

"This word 'quota', set on the basis of [a country's] capacity to integrate and economic needs, must not scare us," Dati wrote.

"How can we look a worker, whose job has been taken by someone brought in from eastern Europe, in the eyes and tell him that free movement must remain an inviolable principle?"

Dati's column was signed by two other former ministers, David Douillet and Thierry Mariani, and 15 lawmakers from Sarkozy's UMP party.

France holds nationwide municipal elections later this month and the European vote in May.

Opinion polls are pointing to major advances for anti-immigration, anti-EU parties.

Cameron has proposed restoring national governments' power to control immigration as part of reforms he wants the EU to make before a referendum on continued British membership.