EU 'big five' join forces to deport illegal immigrants

The idea - suggested by Spain - was accepted by Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, and France, Italy and Germany, at a meeting at Evian on the French shore of Lake Geneva yesterday.

"The five largest EU countries are going to organise planes to take illegal immigrants home," said the French Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who chaired the meeting.

Giuseppe Pisanu, the Italian Interior Minister, said planes would tour the five countries picking up citizens from a single country of origin. Police from the five countries would join the flight. The first charter would leave "in a matter of days", Mr Pisanu said.

The idea is not completely new. Individual EU countries have chartered planes to remove illegal migrants in the past. Italy and Germany have co-operated in joint flights. But this is the first time that five have agreed to a single repatriation programme. The idea is partly to save money, but also to share the political responsibility for repatriation, and to show that the EU is capable of acting together against illegal immigration.

At the end of the two-day meeting of the "Group of Five" largest EU countries, M. Sarkozy said he had also proposed an annual ceiling on the number of legal immigrants accepted by the five. At his suggestion, the so-called G5 will also study ways of harmonising rules for allowing legal immigrants to bring family members to join them.

M. Sarkozy said France had increased expulsions of illegal migrants by half in the past year. He said a strong message should go out from the Evian meeting that "only those with valid papers have a right to enter our countries. Anyone else, who tries to stay on in contravention of our laws, will be sent home." The ministers also agreed a range of other measures to fight illegal immigration. There will be joint naval patrols in the Mediterranean and joint missions by two or three EU countries to countries such as Romania and Albania to try to discourage people from leaving without visas or work permits.

The five countries also agreed in principle to harmonise future requirements on "biometric" identity cards, to make them easier to read by police across the EU and more difficult to forge. The principle of "bio-metric" reading of documents should perhaps be extended to driving licences across the EU, they said.

M. Sarkozy suggested that Poland be invited to join the group to encourage co-operation on crime, terrorism and immigration within the EU.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Voices
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?