A new opinion survey has revealed that just over 1 in 10 French citizens believe that migrants represent an “opportunity” for the country, while nearly 4 in 10 consider migration a “threat” to the nation.
The poll, carried out by the Consumer Science & Analytics (CSA) Institute for French news outlet CNEWS, was published on Thursday, November 17th, and showed that 38% of the French public regard migrants as a “threat,” while 13% see them as an “opportunity,” and 48% believe that they are neither, Valeurs Actuelles reports.
The polling data comes as the arrival of the Ocean Viking, an NGO migrant transport ship to the port of Toulon, has rekindled the heated debate over migration, which like elsewhere in the world remains a highly charged and divisive issue.
As one might expect, the poll’s results highlight stark divisions between France’s political Right and Left on the issue of migration. While 75% of respondents claiming to be from the establishment center-Right (supporters of Les Republicains) consider migrants as a “threat,” 85% of respondents from the national Right (supporters of Rassemblement National and Reconquête) felt the same way.
Conversely, on the Left, most respondents (56%) think that migrants represent neither a threat to nor an opportunity for France. Among Macron voters, opinions were almost exactly the same, at 55%. Enthusiasm for welcoming migrants grows among respondents who are more staunchly left-liberal: 40% of Europe Ecology-The Greens perceive that France benefits from migrant populations, with only 9% viewing them as a hinderance.
Last week, following Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s refusal to grant permission for the Ocean Viking to dock at Italian ports, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin eventually allowed the NGO migrant transport ship, carrying some 234 irregular migrants, to dock at the military port of Toulon, as The European Conservative previously reported. The French interior minister, after slamming Rome’s refusal to allow the ship to dock as “incomprehensible” and “unacceptable,” said it was “obvious that there will be extremely severe consequences for bilateral relations.”
However, just days later, tensions seemed to subside with a phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. Subsequent to the phone call, the two presidents released identical statements where they “affirmed the great importance of relations between France and Italy and stressed the need to bring together the conditions for full cooperation in all areas, both bilaterally and within the European Union.”