Immigration: Gentiloni, dialogue with dictators 'inevitable'

Italian FM, Schengen area remains 'fundamental'

05 March, 18:21

    (ANSAmed) - Rome, March 5 - Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Thursday that dialogue with dictators was an inevitable part of efforts to stem the tide of migrants from North Africa. On Wednesday European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said it would be necessary for the EU to talk to dictators about migrant issues. "This clearly reflects the fact that it's a matter of constructing multipolar equilibriums that involve different regimes.... dictators," Gentiloni told a parliamentary committee.

    The minister added that Rome expects much more help from the European Union in dealing with the growing flows of migrants landing in Italy from North Africa. "Italy is duty-bound to ask for more," Gentiloni said.

    "Europe is duty-bound to work harder on the Mediterranean emergency, which cannot fall on the shoulders of just one country". The minister said that the Schengen Area remained "fundamental" for the European Union, amid calls from some quarters for changes to the agreement for the passport-free zone due to the threat from Islamist terrorists. "The Schengen Area is one of the fundamentals of our common space of freedom, security and justice," Gentiloni told a parliamentary committee. "Giving up on it would be a victory for the enemies of freedom".

    Gentiloni added, however, that Italy was in favour of bolstering the external borders of the Schengen. He called for "systematic checks at airports and ground frontiers, also of EU citizens, if possible via consistent legislation".

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