Brice Hortefeux (born 11 May 1958) is a conservative French politician. He was Minister of the Interior, Overseas Territories and Territorial collectivities. He was previously Minister for Labour, Labour Relations, the Family, Solidarity and Urban Affairs and Minister-Delegate for Local Government at the Ministry of the Interior and was a Member of the European Parliament.
|Member of the European Parliament|
|Assumed office |
24 March 2011
|Member of the Regional council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes|
|Assumed office |
4 January 2016
|Minister of the Interior|
23 June 2009 – 27 February 2011
|Prime Minister||François Fillon|
|Preceded by||Michèle Alliot-Marie|
|Succeeded by||Claude Guéant|
|Born||11 May 1958|
|Political party||Union for a Popular Movement (2002–present)|
|Rally for the Republic (Before 2002)|
|Alma mater||Paris West University Nanterre La Défense|
Paris Institute of Political Science
Hortefeux was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine but was raised in Auvergne. He is one of the most loyal political allies, and personal friend, of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. He is the godfather of one of Nicolas Sarkozy's sons.
On 18 May 2007, he was appointed as the first Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Cooperative Development in the government of Prime Minister François Fillon. As such he has boosted the numbers of illegal immigrants forcibly repatriated from France, extended the network of detention centres (established also outside the larger conurbations in smaller cities such as Blois) and modified the rights of individuals and organizations which visit them.
He is in favor of controls on immigration. He was the promoter of a law that toughens conditions of political asylum in France. He believes that France has a right to expel or welcome immigrants on a discretionary basis, citing as evidence the high unemployment and criminality rates of foreigners. He also points to the geographical concentration of foreigners in a small number of towns as evidence that they are not integrated in the country. As he declared in the newspaper Le Parisien on the 8 November 2007: "France has the right to choose which immigrants it can accommodate... Let's muster the courage to face our problems! Do you find it normal that 60% of immigrants are concentrated in only 3 of our 22 regions? That the unemployment rate of these people is 22% and that their children are dropping out of school? No, we will not accept this.".
On M6's TV show Capital, when asked if there were illegal immigrants in France, he replied: "If you dream of a country where there are only honest and clean citizens... In reality, it's a constant struggle."
The 4 June 2010 a French court has fined him 750 euros for making racist comments about a young party activist of Algerian origin. But the court did not issue a criminal conviction, judging that Hortefeux had not intended the comments to be heard in public.
In August 2010 following an earlier fatal incident involving travellers and gendarmerie at Thésée, near St. Aignan, Loir et Cher, Hortefeux has vigorously pursued a policy of destroying illegal travellers' camps and imposing conditions for voluntary repatriations of Roma (or gypsies) to Romania and Bulgaria, a considerable number of which are in progress. A circular emanating from his office (chef de cabinet: Michel Bart) on 5 August 2010, specifically mentioning an ethnic criterion for these deportations provoked the ire of ministerial colleagues such as Eric Besson and the European commissioner, Viviane Reding. An eirenic exchange with Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the President of the French Bishops' Conference, representing contrasting reactions within the Catholic community, also ensued.
- Degree in private law (1982)
- Master's degree in public law (1984)
- Studied in Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)
- Local authority administrator (1986–1994) (worked in Neuilly-sur-Seine for mayor Nicolas Sarkozy)
- Prefect, given responsibility for a government public service mission (1995)
- Special adviser in the office of the President of the Senate (1998–1999)
- Head of office of the Minister for the Budget and Communications and government spokesman (1993–1995)
- Minister of the Interior, Overseas, Local Authorities and Immigration : 2010–2011.
- Minister of the Interior, Overseas and Local authorities : 2009–2010.
- Minister of Labor, Family and Social Affairs, Solidarity and the City : January–June 2009.
- Minister for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Development Solidarity : 2007–2009.
- Minister of Territorial collectivities : 2005–2007.
- Member of European Parliament : 1999–2005 (Became minister in 2005) / Reelected in 2009, but he remains minister in 2009 / And since 2011. Elected in 1999, reelected in 2004, 2009.
- Regional councillor of Auvergne (region) : Since 1992. Reelected in 1998, 2004, 2010.
Hortefeux in the European institutions
He is a member of the Union for a Popular Movement, which is part of the European People's Party. During his time at the European Parliament, he sat on the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade, was a substitute for the Committee on Budgets and was a member of the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union.
Hortefeux is a supporter of immigrant repatriation from France. He has supported and incentivised voluntary return, in his role as Immigration Minister of France, for immigrant families. In 2007, enhancing the offer to €6,000 per family to leave the country, he claimed that the French government "must increase this measure to help voluntary return".
On 10 September 2009, Le Monde disclosed a video showing Hortefeux at the UMP Summer School in Seignosse, France, on Saturday, 5 September 2009. As he posed for a photograph with a young man of Arabic origin, the following conversation can be heard (translation):
Hortefeux – Oh really? Well, he does not match the prototype at all!
Female voice – He is one of us... he is our little Arab.
Hortefeux – We always need one! When there is only one, it's okay. It's when there are many that problems begin.
In June 2010, a French court found Hortefeux guilty of a racial insult, and fined him 750 euros with an order to donate 2,000 euros to an anti-racism group. Hortefeux' lawyer said that they would appeal the ruling.
2010 cargo plane bomb plot
On 4 November 2010, Hortefeux said that one of the two bombs in the 2010 cargo plane bomb plot was defused just 17 minutes before it was set to explode.
- Le Parisien, 8 octobre 2007 (in French)
- "Article of Rue89," (in French). Rue89.com. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- But did not graduate, see (in French) http://www.rue89.com/2007/09/18/un-soupcon-de-vantardise-sur-les-cv-ministeriels
- "France to Pay Immigrants to Return Home". Der Spiegel. 24 May 2007.
- "Ce que Brice Hortefeux a vraiment dit". Le Monde. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- "Quand Brice Hortefeux dérape – une vidéo". Dailymotion. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "French minister Hortefeux fined for racism". BBC News. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Official: Yemen Cargo Bomb Defused Just in Time". CBS News. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- European Parliament archive entry for Brice Hortefeux (incl. Membership)
- Declaration of financial interests (in French; PDF file)
- Police question Sarkozy's former interior minister, Brice Hortefeux RFI English
| Minister of the Interior