European Union security commissioner Franco Frattini on has appealed to all member countries to urgently boost the joint mission led by the EU's external borders agency patrolling the Mediterranean. Frattini on Wednesday underlined that regarding landings of illegal immigrants by sea, "this summer is shaping up to be as dramatic as that of 2006, and precisely because of this we must count on the deterrent effect" of EU patrols.115 ships? I wonder where they will find those?
"I was promised 115 ships and 25 helicopters but to date only about twenty ships have been provided and three or four helicopters. Where are the others?" demanded Frattini duirng a press conference in Brussels on the bloc's asylum policy.
"It is now absolutely neccessary to provide Frontex [the external borders agency of the EU] with operational means," he added. Frontex summer patrols of the Mediterranean coasts are due to be launched on 20 June.
"We need all the vessels we have been promised, he said. "I need to translate the political commitement which already exists into an operational response at sea. This is what is needed" he concluded.
Italy and Spain in particular are common destinations for immigrant traffickers given their proximity to North Africa.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Tightening up on illegal immigration is not just a U.S. issue. Europe is fighting the battle, too, as set out here: