EU demands others stop immigrants

LUXEMBOURG – EU foreign ministers yesterday listed a set of demands aimed at getting other countries to stem the flow of immigrants into the EU, but disagreed over how to force these countries to carry out such police measures. It was left to the EU leaders to make the difficult decision when they meet at the Seville summit on Friday and Saturday. The ministers at the General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg agreed on a long list of demands to countries such as Turkey and Albania. They were able to agree on economic incentives, but not on penalties that could be used to threaten third countries, due to protests from France, Sweden and Luxembourg. These three said that it would be best to promise more economic aid rather than to warn of sanctions that would lead to greater poverty and therefore greater emigration. The main demand is for third countries to stop the flow of migrants or take them back from EU countries, even if they are not the point of origin of those migrants. Bilateral agreements are to be signed between the EU and these countries. Also, they will be asked to take several legislative and operational measures to prevent immigrants from using them as springboards. These include ratification of international treaties against illegal immigration, passing legislation outlawing people-smuggling and the forging of documents, intensifying police measures, informing EU countries of suspicious-looking ships and accepting joint patrols with the EU’s nascent border patrol force. Countries that do not do enough will be called on to take stricter measures, including «joint management» of their borders. Other measures include closer cooperation on visas and sending help to Italy, Spain and Greece, which are on the front line of an influx of illegal immigrants. «We must send a powerful signal to some third countries that if they want to develop a strong relationship with the EU, they must cooperate in fighting illegal migration, and take back their own nationals,» The Associated Press quoted British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw as saying.

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