France to apply EU norms on Tunisian migrants

18th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said Monday that Paris would respect "in letter and spirit" a European treaty on visa-free movement while dealing with Tunisian migrants entering from Italy.

"We will apply in letter and spirit," the Schengen accords, he said, referring to checks by French authorities on the financial resources of Tunisian migrants crossing over from Italy.

A row over the issue threatens to overshadow Franco-Italian ties. French authorities on Sunday blocked trains coming from the Italian border town of Ventimiglia to block a pro-immigrant protest.

Italy earlier this month said it would grant six-month residence permits to thousands of undocumented migrants from Tunisia who have been arriving on Italian shores following the Tunisian revolution in January.

The government in Rome says the permits allow the mainly French-speaking migrants to travel to France where many of them have friends and relatives. The French government has said it will turn the migrants back.

© 2011 AFP

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