European Union, Italy and immigrants

        A controversy is growing these days in the European Union. There are tensions about some members of governments and the European Union, which are accused of lack of solidarity. 

        The first minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, feels isolated on the European scene, and had also cast doubt on the fact of being in the European Union (even if this possibility has been removed since).

         These dissensions are about the arrival of 230 000 illegal immigrants on the island of Lampedusa in Italy since the beginning of the year. This situation is one of the result of the demonstrations in order to establish democracies in Arabic countries. The most part of these immigrants come from Tunisia and arrived after the collapse of the Ben Ali’s regime.

        Other immigrants from other Arabic countries are arriving in Italy, and this important influx of immigrants cause humanitarian consequences ( one boat with migrants has been capsized by waves, more than 250 deaths). To face to the situation, “welcome centres” have opened in other regions in Italy.

         The immigrants want to obtain the status of political refugee, and the Italian government decide to grant temporary resident permits of 3 months. With this measure, the government expect that the major part of the immigrants will “use” the free circulation on the European Union and get to other countries, France for example. But France said that the French government is going to deport to Italy the migrants who are not in order. There are now more controls the Franco-Italian border.

         The influx of migrants from Tunisia to European countries is not seen like a bad thing for the government in Tunisia, because there is now less pressure on the tunisian labour market.

         Italia wants the application of a law about the massif influx of immigrants. This law at for the moment never been put in practice, and can lead to a kind of repartition of the immigrants in the European Union. But Germany and France rejected this demand, by arguing that the migrants are “economics migrants” and not “political migrants”.

        So to conclude, the question of immigrants is still a burning question for each country, and it seems difficult for the European Union to adopt united policy. The attitude of a European Union unable of getting things moving can unfortunately reinforce the populist and xenophobic speeches.

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