Spain, France formulating common EU immigration proposal
The two countries are working on an agreement that will control clandestine immigration.2 May 2008
MADRID - Spain and France are discussing a proposal for a harmonised European Union immigration policy, a senior Spanish government official said Thursday.
Spain's new secretary of state for the EU, Diego Lopez Garrido, told the Europa Press news agency that negotiations were "advanced" but added "there is still no final agreement".
Various drafts of the proposal, which would spell out a series of measures to control clandestine immigration, have been drawn up and are being revised, he added.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos unveiled the existence of the talks in an interview published Wednesday in French daily newspaper Le Monde.
"We are working with France to propose a European pact on immigration, covering controls, influx management and policies aimed at eliminating the structural causes of irregular immigration," he said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out against broad amnesties declared unilaterally by some EU countries such as Spain, arguing that the bloc's open borders mean a single state's policy affects it as a whole.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, re-elected last month in a general election, granted an amnesty for around 600,000 illegal immigrants in 2005 and is facing pressure to restrict immigration as the economy cools.
Italy granted residency to half a million illegal immigrants a year later.
[AFP / Expatica]