French: court blocks immigration law

The French Constitutional Council has declared more than a third of the provisions in the country's new immigration law to be unconstitutional. Most had been added to the law at the behest of the conservative Les Républicains party. Three articles, including the planned immigration quotas, were rejected due to content, and 32 due to lacking reference to the original draft.

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

A victory for Macron?

The French government should not rejoice too soon, says La Vanguardia:

“This judgement was expected by President Macron. He himself brought the text before the Constitutional Council. ... Now the president can promulgate the law without the most controversial articles. The government may have celebrated a victory, but Macron has not emerged in a good position, because he knew that the adopted text contained unconstitutional points and passed it anyway. ... The Council's decision comes at an important and sensitive moment in France. ... Social discontent is widespread. ... The ruling on the immigration law has revealed a legislative botch-up that could take its toll in the European elections in June.”

Libération (FR) /

More resolve needed in defence of constitutional principles

The Council should have insisted even more resolutely on respect for the constitution, Libération criticises:

“When everything is going down the drain, when parliament, the prime minister and the president are all getting in each other's way, there must be at least one institution that calls a spade a spade. The Constitutional Council should have been that institution and maintained that France's constitutional identity is the principle of equality, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of origin, race or religion. And the principle of fraternity, which prohibits making it an offence to provide assistance to illegal immigrants. In short, an institution that says that the censured provisions are not just legislative forays, but legislative missiles remotely controlled to destroy the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Giving Le Pen credibility

Macron's move with the Constitutional Council plays into the hands of the far-right Rassemblement National, warns De Volkskrant:

“The Council's decision gave Marine Le Pen the chance to insult the judges who ignored the will of 'the people'. The episode shows once again how weak Macron's position has become. ... Macron has moved further and further to the right to slow down the advance of the Rassemblement National. ... But this is a risky strategy. ... It helps the far right to gain legitimacy and credibility. Macron was elected twice to prevent Le Pen from taking power. Now he must be careful not to pave the way for a Le Pen victory in 2027.”

Le Monde (FR) /

A disastrous balance sheet

Macron's tactics ultimately only help the far right, Le Monde also complains:

“A muddled law with potentially minimum consequences; a majority damaged by months of controversy over the far right's favourite issues; constitutional judges who have limited the damage but ultimately end up as scapegoats. ... Who can be happy about such poor results, apart from the leader of the Rassemblement National, who dreams of turning 'the people' against 'the judges' and blowing up the safeguards of the constitution and the EU in order to legalise discrimination and xenophobia, disfigure the republic and discredit France's image?”