Dutch minister slams Italian migrant move

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Immigration Minister Gerd Leers says he’s “extremely angry” at Italy for planning to give humanitarian visas to thousands of Tunisian economic migrants.

The visas would allow them to travel freely for months around the European Union’s Schengen countries, which include the Netherlands. “We can’t just accept this,” said Mr Leers, following EU talks in Luxembourg. The talks made it clear that other EU countries would not be able to prevent the Italian move. He described the situation as “very unsatisfactory”.

Mr Leers is pushing the European Commission to come up with “a plan of attack” to prevent a further stream of illegal migrants from coming to the EU from North Africa. He argues that “the tap’s got to be turned off”.

He still hopes that Italy will not go through with its plan to provide the visas. If it does however go ahead, he says he can’t rule out that some of the Tunisians will attempt to enter the Netherlands, but doubts that many will do so.

The EU is resisting the idea of spreading the nearly 25,000 Tunisian migrants throughout the member states despite urgent calls for help from the government in Rome.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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