Zapatero proposes national immigration pact

8th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 September 2004, MADRID - Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants to negotiate a "national pact" on immigration that would enlist the support of the European Union and foreigners' countries of origin in better regulating migratory flows, it was reported Wednesday.

8 September 2004

MADRID - Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants to negotiate a "national pact" on immigration that would enlist the support of the European Union and foreigners' countries of origin in better regulating migratory flows, it was reported Wednesday.

Zapatero presented the proposal to Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the main opposition Popular Party.

Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega , deputy prime-minister,  later said told journalists the "successive failures" of migratory reforms proposed by the previous conservative administration show that this challenge cannot be resolved by the executive branch alone, as it affects all Spanish institutions and society as a whole.

"We must agree on how many people we can take in and still coexist, and how we organise that coexistence," Fernandez said.

She said Zapatero's proposal rests on four fundamental pillars.

The first of these is to step up control on the borders, which would allow for the expulsion of criminals and the repatriation of those who enter Spain illegally.

Secondly, the government wants the entire European Union to act together on migratory matters.

The third aspect is to promote international cooperation with migrants' countries of origin "to better organise the arrivals via (work) contracts" in those countries.

Zapatero's final goal is to address the legal situation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in Spain.

Under the terms of the proposal, those undocumented workers who already have work would gain legal status so they can pay their taxes, preventing distortions in the job market, guaranteeing immigrants' rights and ensuring that they comply with their responsibilities.

Asked how Rajoy responded to the proposal, the deputy prime minister said the opposition leader did not offer any definitive answer.

However, Fernandez said she trusted Rajoy would respond positively because the administration believes this pact is "reasonable, necessary, appropriate and good for the country."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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