Foreigners living in France could be required to pay for healthcare during their first two years in the country, under a new plan proposed by Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
The changes would affect both those who legally work and live in France, paying into social security, and undocumented foreign residents. Le Pen told RTL radio that foreign citizens should not expect all their health care needs to be covered right away, despite contributing to the national tax system.
Should Le Pen be elected, such a plan would remain difficult to implement, due to a 1990 ruling by the French Constitutional Council which states that foreign citizens living in France are to be granted equal social rights as French nationals.
Not Le Pen’s first controversial statement
Last December the presidential hopeful also said that children of illegal immigrants should not get access to free education, which is guaranteed to everyone by law in France.
The far-right party National Front, which Le Pen leads, is running on a radical anti-immigration and anti-establishment platform. The party also supports holding a referendum on France’s membership of the EU and is in favour of withdrawing from the eurozone. In a country that has been left wounded by recent terrorist attacks and is dealing with a Europe-wide refugee crisis, anti-immigration sentiments are high, and a voice alleged to be addressing these is expected to attract voters.
Le Pen is currently the frontrunner in national polls, ahead of the Republican Party’s François Fillon and independent Emmanuel Macron. Nevertheless, it is expected that she will lose the second round of the elections whoever her opponent may be. You can never be too sure, however.
Image: Rémi Noyon