EU welcomes new guidelines to immigration pact
European interior ministers have given the green light for the European pact on immigration and asylum, says EU’s French presidency.8 July 2008
CANNES - European Union nations unanimously welcomed Monday sweeping new guidelines for controlling immigration, and are on track to sign the pact in October, the EU's French presidency said.
"The interior ministers gave their unanimous accord on the principles, the objectives, the presentation and the structure of the pact," said French Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux.
"This accord permits the perspective of a signature in mid-October" at a summit of EU leaders, he told reporters after hosting informal talks in the French Riviera resort city of Cannes.
The "European Pact on Immigration and Asylum" sets out principles for the EU to manage migration, fight illegal immigration and help development in poor countries that people are leaving or travelling through to get to Europe.
Under the plan, EU nations will tailor legal immigration toward workers or professionals whose skills fit their particular labour needs, favouring those who would stay in their countries long term.
They would also pledge to try to avoid handing out residency permits en masse. Italy and Spain have angered some of their partners by giving papers to some 700,000 people in recent years.
Refugees will be increasingly obliged to apply for asylum from outside - some 220,000 people did so in 2007 - although the EU will strive to better channel aid to those countries they are fleeing.
[AFP / Expatica]