EU states to crack down on human smuggling

23rd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 March 2006, HEILIGENDAMM, GERMANY - The six biggest states in the European Union agreed Thursday to set up teams of investigators to crack down on human smuggling across Europe's borders.

23 March 2006

HEILIGENDAMM, GERMANY - The six biggest states in the European Union agreed Thursday to set up teams of investigators to crack down on human smuggling across Europe's borders.

Interior ministers from Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Poland and Spain agreed to pool the resources of their national bodies dealing with illegal immigration.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said recent cases of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of West Africa were essentially the result of organized crime.

This problem would be dealt with effectively by the European Union, Schaeuble said at the end of a two-day meeting in the Baltic Sea resort Heiligendamm.

Spanish Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso Suarez appealed to the EU to make more funds available to Africa to help in its social and economic development.

Suarez said the pattern of illegal immigration was changing, with more people leaving sub-Saharan Africa with the goal of making it to Europe, where they hoped for a better life.

In a final declaration, the ministers also stressed their intention to cooperate on integration and ways to combat the drugs trade and international terrorism.

They agreed on exchanges of personnel between their various national anti-terrorism units in order to facilitate better cooperation and exchange of information.

The ministers agreed to set up a panel of experts to study a French proposal for a binding "integration contract" with immigrants and to make suggestions for its content.

The contract would lay down the rights and duties of immigrants in the initial stages of taking up residence in their new homelands.

This would differ from the citizenship tests currently under discussion in Germany where people resident for a certain number of years have to answer questions about the history and culture of their new home.

DPA

Subject: German news

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