French Conservative Leader Adopts Anti-Mass Migration ‘Populist’ Stance

Burkina Faso's Aziz Porogo, a 28-year-old migrant, sits in his tent at a makeshift camp set under a bridge near Porte de la Villette, northern Paris on April 20, 2018. - Aziz left Burkina Faso in 2009 as he could not find a job in his impoverished home country. Like …

The leader of the French conservative Republicans has announced a tough, new stance on mass migration, saying that waves of recently-arrived migrants constitute a “cultural threat” to European civilisation.

Republicans leader Laurent Wauquiez has embraced the anti-mass migration populist policies of other parties surging across Europe at a recent speech saying that French people do not want to become a minority and blasting President Emmanuel Macron and the French establishment for condemning criticism on the subject, L’Obs reports.

“The French sadly feel the downgrading, the disintegration, and the dispossession of their country. The French refuse to become foreigners in their own country,” Wauquiez said.

“To defend one’s identity, to be attached to one’s country, to love one’s culture, to believe in the need for borders, is what Emmanuel Macron has described as sad passions. I believe that roots must be firmly planted in the soil. I believe in transmission, I believe in historical continuity. It’s not a sad passion, it’s our first pride,” he added.

Railing against the establishment narrative on mass migration, Wauquiez said: “They even invented the word populism to justify their censorship and silence those who do not think like them, but what arrogance, what contempt,” and added, “To listen to the French is, therefore, to be populist.”

The shift toward populist talking points comes after anti-mass migration former French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen came second in the vote last year, being beaten by President Macron, but also following populist election victories in Austria and Italy where the League leader Matteo Salvini has clashed with the European Union after closing the country’s ports to migrants and asylum seekers.

The new stance also comes less than a year ahead of the European Parliament elections which have been described by Richard Ferrand, president of Macron’s Le Republique en Marche party, as a fight between two visions of Europe: that of Macron and Merkel on one hand, and the vision of Salvini and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the other.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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