France and Spain are comparing notes on how to harmonise legal immigration into Europe, and keep illegal migrants out. Paris is preparing an immigration pact to present to EU partners at their summit this July in Cannes, as the French launch into their turn as European Council President.
The ideas going back and forth include having new arrivals sign an integration contract which commits them to learning the language of their adoptive country and its values such as equality between men and women.
French conservative MEP Patrick Gaubert said: “If we can manage to eradicate illegal labour, the ones who have a job will stay, and the others we don’t have a choice about because we don’t have enough housing, we don’t have enough work – so they’ll have to go home, but we’ll have to help them finanically to do that.”
One of the pact’s goals will be an agreement from the EU partners not to unilaterally grant any mass amnesties like Spain did in 2005, giving some 700,000 illegal immigrants the right to stay.
Member states worried about spillover while Spain enjoyed a 1.5 billion-euro social security boost from its happy new contributors – although repatriation also gained favour.