Immigration: EU Commission: Letta plan in synch with ours

Italian PM requests 4 EU commitments

22 October, 16:58

    Italian Premier Enrico Letta and Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge at the Lower House, ahead of the EU Council meeting in Brussels. Italian Premier Enrico Letta and Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge at the Lower House, ahead of the EU Council meeting in Brussels.

    (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 22 - The European Commission on Tuesday said the immigration strategy Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta presented before Parliament today is in line with EU thinking on the issue.

    Letta's plan, which is to be submitted to the European Council on Thursday, ''converges with the Commission's priorities as announced'', said a spokesperson for Interior Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. ''We have indicated to member states right from the beginning that we must strengthen (EU border control agency) FRONTEX'', the spokesperson explained.

    ''We must also make sure (European Border Surveillance System) EUROSUR is operative by December 2, and start a dialogue with the countries of origin and transit. The redistribution of migrants is also fundamental''.

    Letta told Italy's Lower House that Italy will go to the European Council the day after tomorrow to request ''four specific commitments: that the Lampedusa drama be considered a European issue; immediate measures to make EUROSUR operative and to strengthen FRONTEX; a plan of action to deal with the migration emergency; and dialogue with Mediterranean countries''.

    The European Council ''will be an opportunity to begin debating a different Europe'', Letta told MPs.

    ''Here in this very hall, we have more than once spoken of a Europe that is trapped within its own contradictions and that has lost its soul'', the premier said. ''Europe has left its soul at the mercy of endless discussions on procedure. But when a member state faces hardship, what we need is solidarity. On the day after tomorrow, the agony of Lampedusa will enter the European Council for the first time. In the face of such pain, we must not conform to the globalization of indifference''.

    Also on Tuesday, European affairs ministers in Luxembourg green-lit EUROSUR, the border patrol program allowing information sharing between member states. Beginning in December, the program will help track ''invisible'' boats in the Mediterranean. (ANSAmed).

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