Europe 1 with AFP 20:34 p.m., December 20, 2023

President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday there was "an immigration problem in France" but denied the country was "overwhelmed", a day after parliament passed the controversial immigration bill.

After the resignation of Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau following the vote of the text, he said "respect (his decision) and I also have a lot of respect for all the deputies of the majority who voted a law that was not a law whose provisions they liked," said the head of state on France 5.

The adoption of this controversial immigration bill, voted for by the far right which claims an "ideological victory", has fractured the presidential majority. For Emmanuel Macron, the bill "is a text that remains useful", and certain provisions "even if they do not please, did not justify blocking everything".

'Addressing the problems that fuel' immigration

The head of state considered that the deposit that will be required of foreign students was "not a good idea", because "we need to continue to attract talent and students from all over the world". To prevent the RN from coming to power, it is "necessary to deal with the problems that feed it" and "to show that there is a response in the republican field in line with our values", he continued.

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"It is not true" that the text includes "provisions that are of a National Rally nature", he added, adding that the law was "very clearly" aimed at discouraging illegal immigration. The head of state thus assures that the adoption of the bill constitutes on the contrary "a defeat" for Marine Le Pen's party, in response to accusations of compromise with the far right. But if he believes that there is "a problem of immigration in France", we are not "overwhelmed by immigration", he said.