Economic migrants threaten EU's future, warns commissioner

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The flow of economic migrants is a time bomb facing the European Union, its new Justice and Home Affairs commissioner warned yesterday.

The flow of economic migrants is a time bomb facing the European Union, its new Justice and Home Affairs commissioner warned yesterday.

Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's European Affairs minister for the past three years, called for member states to work more closely to stem the numbers of refugees heading to the EU. "People seeking asylum for economic reasons is a growing problem. It's a time bomb," he said. He said the EU states had to agree extra aid to developing nations to cut the flow of refugees, and backed a German proposal to set up immigrant "holding centres" in countries such as Tunisia or Libya, dismissing fears that they could infringe human rights. "We have to ask transit countries to establish the camps that would take in immigrants ... to offer them humanitarian aid and information about job possibilities in Europe," he said. "But they would also investigate, identify and send back those who don't meet criteria or who would not be able to integrate in our society."

Mr Buttiglione said the idea of a police force to patrol the EU's borders should be examined. He added: "Obviously someone who has to flee from a dictatorship that wants to kill them is offered asylum. But there are also natural disasters that mean people don't have a house to return to. Look at sub-Saharan Africa. What can be done about them? We have to talk about it."

Comments