French President Emmanuel Macron’s party is facing significant electoral losses amid concerns over “out of control” immigration, The Times reported.
The government’s perceived failure to control immigration — with a 28.6 percent year-on-year increase in asylum applications — has led to key potential allies urging Macron to take urgent action.
, Bangladesh, Turkey and Georgia were the main countries of origin for asylum seekers in France last year.
New figures show that France provided 320,330 people with residency permits in 2022 — up from 193,000 a decade earlier.
Bruno Retailleau, leader of the opposition Republicans in the Senate, said populism could make another comeback in France due to growing dissatisfaction with immigration levels.
Macron is likely to need Retailleau’s support in pushing through a critical new immigration bill in Parliament, with the president’s party losing its majority in the National Assembly during elections last year.
The proposed bill aims to ease concerns from both the left and right of French politics, with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne describing the legislation as a balance of “firmness and humanity.”
Under the plans, authorities will expedite the deportation of unemployed illegal immigrants, while industries facing labor shortages will gain access to new one-year working visas enabling the rapid hiring of undocumented migrants.
But Retailleau criticized the proposals, saying it “will not enable us to take back control” of immigration.
He added: “We are in the midst of migratory disorder (and) if we don’t take back control … there will be insurrections in the voting booths very soon.”
Retailleau warned that France could follow in the footsteps of Sweden, where “the extreme right is at the door of power.”
Political commentator Matthieu Croissandeau said: “The left thinks it (the legislation) is too right wing and the right thinks it’s too left wing.”