Magazine article Europe-East

Immigration : Eu Prepares for New Debate on Illegal Immigrants

Magazine article Europe-East

Immigration : Eu Prepares for New Debate on Illegal Immigrants

Article excerpt

A European debate is needed on the management of migratory flows after Italy's unprecedented and highly controversial return of immigrants to Libya. The EU's immigration ministers have already held a number of debates but have so far failed to identify common solutions. This time, though, the right of asylum is at stake so they will renew the exercise, on 5 June, at the Justice and Home Affairs Council. The ministers will discuss the case of all the EU's Mediterranean countries.

According to the European Commission, Europe wants to "respond vigorously" to the problem of illegal immigration. In Italy on 19 May, President Jose Manuel Barroso, who hopes to be reappointed, announced proposals for 10 June, which he will present with Commissioner Jacques Barrot based on three objectives: "preventing tragedies at sea, safeguarding the principle of free movement and defending the right of asylum," he said in an interview with Corriere della Sera published the same day.

In the meantime, the Commission could put on hold its response to the new Italian policy, implemented since early May by virtue of a friendship treaty' between Italy and Libya signed in August 2008. The controversy continues to swell, however. The illegal immigrants intercepted at sea - several hundred to date - cannot set foot in Italy and are deprived of the possibility of applying for asylum. That right is nevertheless "inviolable and universal," said the Commission president. …

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