Security and Immigration : Commission Challenges Italy's Immigration Package

Article excerpt

The European Commission cautioned Berlusconi's Italy, on 23 September, that several elements of its new immigration and security policy pose compatibility problems with Community law.

This is particularly true of a decree already being applied which sets out the immediate expulsion of EU citizens in the event of being sentenced to more than two years in prison in Italy. However, "the Commission remains hopeful of reaching a solution in conformity with Community law," added EU Justice, Liberty and Security Commissioner Jacques Barrot. In absence of such a solution, he warns, the Commission "would launch infringement proceedings, as provided for by the treaty".

This summer, Italy submitted to the Commission, to receive its opinion, a series of measures aiming to combat illegal immigration and ensure public order following crimes committed by the Roma community. Among them were legislative proposals modifying the application in Italy of EU directives on family reunification, the free movement of EU citizens and refugee status.

The draft decree modifying the application in Italy of the Free Movement Directive (2004/38) "poses problems of compatibility with Community law," says the Commission. But here, too, "contacts are under way between the Commission services and the Italian authorities to find solutions compliant with EU law". …