Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This predictable response always occurs when there is a massive flow of illegals into a specific area, seeking to take advantage of lax controls. As a result, law-abiding citizens always see their rights and advantages curtailed, paying the price for those who abuse the system.

EU powers looking to tighten up open border

EU powers looking to tighten up open border
Nadege Puljak and Gildas Le Roux, Agence France Presse ·
Apr. 27, 2011 Last Updated: Apr. 27, 2011 4:08 AM ET

ROME. France and Italy proposed a reform of Europe's open-borders treaty Tuesday that would allow member states to re-impose internal frontier controls temporarily if there is a major influx of migrants.

At a summit in Rome, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, agreed on a letter outlining their demands to European Union (EU) leaders.

Since January, thousands of migrants from North Africa have fled to Italy and many are now trying to enter France.

"We both believe that in exceptional circumstances there should be variations to the Schengen treaty," Mr. Berlusconi said.

"For the treaty to stay alive, it must be reformed," Mr. Sarkozy added.

The Schengen treaty, which was signed in 1985, was billed as a giant step toward European integration. It allowed passport-free travel to 400 million people in 25 nations (Britain did not sign on).

This year's planned reform of Schengen should look at "the possibility of restoring internal border checks temporarily in cases of exceptional difficulty in managing common external borders," the letter said.

The European Commission, the EU's executive, said it was drawing up "precise conditions" under which states could suspend the rules of the treaty. Spokesman Olivier Bailly said reinstating border patrols between EU states covered by the treaty would be a "last resort."

"You would have to leave the EU to suspend Schengen," he said.

At present, controls can be re-introduced only when there is a "grave threat to the public order or internal security" of an EU state.

The letter also called for the reinforcement of the EU's Warsaw-based border agency Frontex and for agreements on immigration between the EU and states in the southern Mediterranean that will allow deportations.

Paris has accused Rome of abusing the Schengen pact by issuing temporary residence permits and travel documents to North African migrants, including French-speaking Tunisians.

Many of the more than 20,000 Tunisians given papers by Italy have friends and relatives in French cities and have been streaming across the border into France.

Both Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Sarkozy -who faces a presidential election in a year's time -are under right-wing pressure to curb immigration at a time in which unrest in North Africa has displaced thousands of people.

Italy has complained for weeks of being left alone to cope with migrants from North Africa. About 30,000 have arrived so far this year.

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