Statewatch News Online: EU - Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom and Security" talks of immigration ""time-bomb"

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New Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom and Security" talks of the EU being "swamped" by a immigration "time-bomb"

The new European Commissioner for the re-named Directorate-General for "Justice, Freedom and Security" (previously Justice and Home Affairs), Rocco Buttiglione from Italy, has told Reuters news agency in a telephone interview that:

"People seeking asylum for economic reasons is a growing problem. It's a time bomb".

Mr Buttiglone said that economic migration was a real problem and Reuters reports he said that measures needed to be taken to:

"prevent the massive exodus from swamping the European Union"

The new Commissioner expanded on his views - expressed earlier this month - that he supported the creation of EU-funded "camps" in Africa. In the interview he said:

"We have to ask transit countries to establish the camps that would take in immigrants who, for example, arrive from sub-Saharan Africa, to offer them humanitarian aid and information about job possibilities in Europe.. But they would also investigate, identify and send back those who don't meet criteria or who would not be able to integrate in our society."

In Italy the Green Party and Caritas, the charity organisation, are reported as saying that the proposed centres "risk turning into concentration camps".

Rocco Buttliglione, was for three years the European Affairs Minister in Berlusconi's government. He, along with the other Commissioners, has to be endorsed by the European Parliament in October before taking office on 1 November.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The language of an immigration "time bomb" and "swamping" usually come from extreme right-wing politicians and racists. The European Parliament might want to question whether these are appropriate views for a new Commissioner responsible for immigration and asylum policy."

1. Reuters (link)
2. euobserver (link)
3. Guardian (link)
4. New Commissioner backs external camps
5. Statewatch analysis: “Improving access to durable solutions”: doublespeak and the dismantling of refugee protection in the EU

filed 23.8.04

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