France considers ethnic census

Sarkozy has announced plans to set up a commission charged with the task of measuring France’s ethnic make-up. The commission will be headed up by Sarkozy’s adviser on tackling discrimination, Yazid Sabeg, who commented: “It is essential to measure how effectively official policies are combating discrimination.”

The measure was strongly opposed by Sarkozy’s detractors on the grounds that this idea breaches the French principle of equality for all. Indeed, it is currently illegal to classify people by their race or religious beliefs in France.

Sabeg was quick to dismiss their concerns: “There is an entire fringe sector that feels discriminated against in this country because of their physical appearance or their surnames. They feel pretty much illegitimate and suffer real social discrimination.”