The myth of France as 'the land of asylum'

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While massive numbers of refugees continue to arrive in Europe, there is a perception among many in France that the country is something of a ‘promised land’ for asylum seekers, a dream destination about to be overwhelmed by the influx. But in reality, the self-proclaimed “land of human rights” figures way down the wish-list of those currently seeking to settle in Europe, even among francophone refugees. In this analysis of the crisis, which on Sunday saw Germany closing its southern borders, Mediapart's specialist writer on migratory issues, Carine Fouteau, examines why the majority of refugees are now spurning France.

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There is a widespread belief in France that the country is the chosen destination of international migration, a country where thousands of refugees dream of settling to begin their lives afresh. A country where they find peace and security at last, in conditions conducive to view the future with serenity, to find employment, begin a family, make friends.