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Poll finds six out of 10 in France favor limits on EU immigration

PARIS, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A majority in France would support restrictions on immigration of residents from other European Union countries, a poll indicated.

The online poll was conducted by the Ifop polling organization shortly after a Swiss referendum to cap immigration passed by a small margin last Sunday, Radio France Internationale reported Saturday. It was first published on the website Atlantico.

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Under the Schengen Agreement -- signed in 1985 by European Economic Community member states -- citizens of EU member states have the right to live and work anywhere in the union. Switzerland and Norway, which do not belong to the EU, have also signed the treaty, and EU officials have warned the Swiss immigration cap could jeopardize the country's close trading ties with the rest of Europe if it is implemented.

Almost six out of 10 respondents (59 percent) said they would support tighter restrictions in France on immigration from the rest of the EU.

Seventy-five percent of those who support the ultra-nationlalist Front National and 68 percent of supporters of the Union for a Popular Movement, the largest right-wing party, favor restrictions, while 46 percent of those backing left-wing parties do.

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Immigration has become more controversial in the original EU member states as eastern European countries have joined. Another poll released Saturday indicated growing support in France for the Front National.

Ifop surveyed 968 adults for the online poll. No other polling method details were reported.

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