EU ministers have reacted favourably to French proposals for a tougher common policy to
stem illegal immigration. They have been meeting in Cannes to discuss plans presented by the bloc’s presiding nation for the second half of this year. France has pledged to work hard to repel illegal migration and expel more people who arrive on Europe’s shores univited.
There were some differences: Diplomats said some states with more liberal views on
migrant workers, like Sweden, wanted the French text broadened to encourage migration to fill whatever skill shortages exist. At the moment it mentions “highly qualified” workers.
Spain expressed concern about South
American countries’ angry reaction to new EU rules that let authorities detain illegal immigrants for up to 18 months.
EU officials argue the bloc must get tougher on illegal immigration to convince voters to be more accepting of legal immigrants needed to make up for the bloc’s aging population.
However, Germany’s Interior Minister said he didn’t see a wall around Europe. His Greek counterpart said the aim was not to create a “fortress” Europe, but a coherent policy.