Zapatero backs new EU illegal migration measures

15th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 December 2006, BRUSSELS — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero backed a series of measures to combat illegal immigration which are to be adopted by European Union on Friday.

15 December 2006

BRUSSELS — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero backed a series of measures to combat illegal immigration which are to be adopted by European Union on Friday.

Addressing an EU summit in Brussels, Zapatero said Europe has established a common policy on immigration that "leaves aside propaganda to become an effective and visible policy for citizens".

Along with the steps taken to control Europe's southern frontier and allocate more funds for the EU border agency Frontex, Zapatero said Europe must cooperate with Africa and not think of immigration only as a security matter.

According to the premier, the continent must also effectively manage legal migration.

"To date, the European Council has talked a lot about Africa, but hasn't talked with Africa," the prime minister said.

One of the steps to be approved here is a requirement that any EU country planning to offer some form of amnesty to undocumented immigrants give advance notice to its partners in the bloc.

Last year, Zapatero's socialist government granted an amnesty to 800,000 illegal immigrants who had offers of work, in a move that was applauded by immigrants' associations and criticized by Spain's conservative opposition as well as by politicians in other EU countries.

The conservatives, supported by European leaders like French interior minister - and presidential hopeful - Nicolas Sarkozy, reproached Zapatero for having opened wide the door to Europe via the extraordinary process of immigration status regularization.

The Spanish government argued that integrating undocumented workers into the system creates an additional source of income for the state and combats the black market for labour.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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