Life in Paris appears to have returned to normal, with the familiar inconvenience of a train strike taking the place of suburban rioting and nightly car burnings having returned to pre-riot levels.

No-one much wants to endorse the message that violence works, but it
seems that the rioters have forced the French government to give some
attention to their grievances. Indeed, on one view it shows how well
France’s immigrants have assimilated, taking as their own the venerable
French tradition of barricades and street protests. As a commentator in
Canada’s Globe and Mail
put it, “the so-called “immigrants” of the Paris suburbs are behaving
like French men and women always have: “They’ve taken their complaints
into the streets and forced the elected elites to pay attention.”

Despite the impression that the riots might have given, a new study
shows that French angst about immigration is actually less pronounced
than in the rest of Europe.

Published this week in Venice, the study, Immigration and citizenship
in Europe
, by Ilvo Diamanti and Fabio Bordignon, surveyed attitudes
for the fifth year running in six countries: France, Italy, Germany,
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic (see French report here; brief summary in English; full report in Italian.)

Asked whether immigrants were “a danger to our culture, our identity or
our religion,” 29.2% in Germany said yes, as did 26.6% in Italy but
only 22.6% in France – down 3.2% from last year. Similarly, only 22.8%
of the French thought they were “a threat to public order and personal
security” (down by 7.1%), compared with 34.1% of Germans, 39.2% of
Italians, and 61% of Czechs and Hungarians.

More than any of the other countries except Hungary, French respondents
agreed that immigrants were “a resource for the economy” (59.7%, up
4.3%), and a large majority thought that legal immigrants who pay taxes
should be able to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections.

The survey was taken between early July and mid-September, so French
attitudes may well have hardened a bit since then. But it’s a pretty
good base of tolerance to start from.