24.09.2009 - European Union action against illegal immigration
Eric Besson, Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Mutually-Supportive Development, has just written, today, Friday, 18 September, to all his EU colleagues proposing a long-term action plan to combat illegal immigration networks in Europe.
Eric Besson begins by reporting the unprecedented pressure of illegal immigration networks on the European UnionÂ’â€™s external borders, particularly in the Mediterranean. He proposes strengthening FRONTEX, the European agency tasked with coordinating the European UnionÂ’â€™s external border control, through five measures :
development of a new operational doctrine for FRONTEX-led maritime operations in the Mediterranean, geared to the interception and return [of illegals], with due regard for international obligations, especially as regards asylum ;
stronger operational cooperation between FRONTEX and the migrantsÂ’â€™ countries of departure in order to coordinate control operations at sea ;
establishment of a FRONTEX agency in the Mediterranean to coordinate surveillance and control operations as close as possible to grassroots level ;
charter by FRONTEX of joint deportation flights for illegal immigrants ;
creation of a FRONTEX-coordinated "Erasmus” programme for coastguards in Europe, leading to the emergence of a Europe-wide genuine professional coastguard community.
Eric Besson will present these measures at the next Council of MinistersÂ’â€™ meeting on Monday, 21 September in Brussels.
He will send this letter to his European counterparts immediately after his visit to FRONTEX headquarters in Warsaw and his meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, in Geneva.
Eric Besson is continuing his round of European visits in Greece. Today he is going to the island of Samos, in the Aegean Sea, to take stock of the situation with Spyros Flogaitis, Greek Interior Minister, and go on board an Italian coastguard vessel participating in Operation POSEIDON, which FRONTEX is carrying out in the eastern Mediterranean./.