French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday visited the southern city of Toulouse, which was shaken in March when an Islamic gunman went on a shooting rampage that included a Jewish school.

Sarkozy called for tougher borders and a stronger national identity and accused the left of petty slander as he struggled to catch up with his Socialist rival a week before a presidential runoff.

In his speech, the conservative Sarkozy used the word "border" dozens of times as he stressed that love of one's country should not be confused with "dangerous nationalist ideology".

"Without borders there is no nation, there is no Republic, there is no civilisation," Sarkozy told some 10,000 supporters. "We are not superior to others but we are different," he said.

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