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France seen as most immigrant friendly

PARIS -- France has the most immigrant-friendly population of the major European powers, with more than half saying the number of immigrants in their country is "about right," according to an international survey.

The six-nation poll, carried out this month before and after Nicolas Sarkozy, a hard-liner on immigration, was elected president of France on May 6, found that the French were also more likely than Britons, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, and Americans to have invited a member of an ethnic minority home for dinner.

The British emerged as the population least-welcoming of immigrants, according to the poll, which was conducted online for the International Herald Tribune and the television station France 24 by Harris Interactive and surveyed 6,585 adults in the six countries from May 2 to May 14.

In France, 52 percent of the respondents viewed the number of immigrants in the country as "about right," the poll found. In Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain, far fewer respondents held that view, with most saying there were "too many" immigrants. Two-thirds of Britons felt this way, as did 55 percent of Germans and Italians. In Spain, 45 percent said there were too many immigrants, while 28 percent said the number was about right.

In the United States, where many families still remember their immigrant roots, 43 percent said the number of immigrants now was about right, while 35 percent said there were too many.

The survey did not address the question of the immigrants' origin, but it asked whether their integration was proceeding successfully. Americans were the most likely to answer yes, with 43 percent calling integration a success.