France


Thousands of expats standing in local elections in France this weekend

by Ray Clancy on March 19, 2014

Expats all over France are not only preparing to vote in this weekend’s first round of local elections but also stand to represent their communes.

Thousands of expats from all over Europe are eligible to stand in the election and are putting themselves forward as candidates.

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France has an estimated 1.8 million expats from other European Union countries

According to figures released by the Ministry of the Interior last week, some 5,954 foreign nationals will be included on the voting lists and they come from a wide variety of countries.

British expats lead the way with 1,525 candidates spread across France, followed by Belgium with 1,186 citizens standing for election. Portugal also has a large number of expats on the candidate list at 1,045.

Other countries with hundreds of candidates include Germany with 523, Italy with 434 and Spain with 319. Sweden has 38 standing for election.

Foreigners from European countries are able to stand as candidates for local elections under a reciprocal European Union agreement but they cannot hold the office of mayor or deputy mayor unless they become French citizens.

In the local elections some candidates represent the big political parties but others, especially in small rural communes stand as independents.

There are 928,021 candidates standing in the elections this year. Many foreign candidates stand a chance of being elected. The most up to date figures from 2008 show that 1,397 expats were elected to local councils around the country, with British candidates leading the list with 409 elected councillors, followed by 323 Belgian councillors and 177 from Portugal.

France has an estimated 1.8 million expats from other European Union countries. Around a third are from Portugal, with Italians and Spanish coming in second and third. There are an estimated 330,000 British expats living in France, well below the one million who are estimated to live in Spain.

A recent report by the European Commission which looked at the impact of expats on the cities of Lille in France, Barcelona in Spain, Hamburg in Germany, Prague in the Czech Republic, Turin in Italy, and Dublin in Ireland, concluded that migrants bring major economic benefits including boosting the state’s coffers.

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