Interior ministers from the five largest European economies are meeting in the Italian city of Florence. The two-day informal talks will focus on a range of issues including illegal immigration and the fight against terrorism. The ministers will be discussing a proposal by Germany and Italy to set up camps for illegal immigrants outside the bloc’s borders. France opposes the plan, saying the Sangatte experience proves such centres only benefit criminals.
A pilot project is already underway, with reception points for migrants being set up in five North African countries. In the last 24 hours alone, more than a hundred illegal immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco have landed on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, including several women and children. Only ten percent of those who ask for asylum in the EU are given refugee status. The rest are considered economic migrants.