- Title: FRANCE: Top asylum nations discuss fight against illegal immigration
- Date: 7th September 2010
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 6, 2010) (REUTERS) NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING FRENCH IMMIGRATION MINISTER ERIC BESSON TAKING PLACE AT DESK VARIOUS OF PARTICIPANTS TAKING THEIR SEATS FOR NEWS CONFERENCE WIDE OF AUDITORIUM VIDEO SCREEN BEHIND PARTICIPANTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH IMMIGRATION MINISTER ERIC BESSON SAYING: "As the minimum deadline for a forced expulsion from France is one month, those who were in camps that were taken down in August were not compelled to leave. They were exclusively voluntary returns that were carried out. And it's not new. France last year returned more than 11,000... Not Roma, because I don't like that term, but Romanians and Bulgarians who were in an irregular situation. There was an acceleration in August. We scrupulously respected Community law, scrupulously respected French law and we scrupulously respected our Republican principles: firmness and humanity." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS BESSON SPEAKING NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES BROKENSHIRE, UK HOME OFFICE SECRETARY OF STATE SAYING: "In the context of the UK's relationship with Romania, we have very good relations in terms of dealing with issues of child trafficking, and working with the Romanian authorities to deal with those sorts of specific issues. And very much it is about practical cooperation and I think that has been the underlying theme between all of the discussions that we have had during the course of this morning's meeting." VARIOUS OF NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN INTERIOR MINISTER ROBERTO MARONI SAYING: "The directive is okay. It establishes under what conditions a European citizen, and that includes a Romanian citizen, can reside in a country. The problem is that if they don't respect those conditions, the state that has these people present on their territory can't do anything else than what France and Italy have done and that's ask those citizens to leave the country, sometimes with an incentive. I think we have to work to make the rules that already exist more efficient: no threats, no negotiations, no special negotiations between members of the European Union." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS PARTICIPANTS LEAVING AUDITORIUM
- Embargoed: 22nd September 2010 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAD6FTRU9W53E75QN74Z9L1JSSY
- Story Text: Ministers from seven of the world's top asylum destinations gathered in Paris on Monday (September 6) to discuss the fight against illegal immigration, while France defended itself over its recent crackdown on illegal Roma camps and the return of about 1,000 people to Romania.
Ministers or secretaries of state from France, Italy, Britain, Greece, Belgium, Germany and Canada were present at the meeting, representing seven out of the 10 top nations for asylum applications.
Combined, they accounted for 183,440 asylum applications in 2009, according to documentation released at the meeting. Of those, Belgium, Germany, and France, saw increases of 40, 25 and 18 percent respectively, while applications to other countries were down sharply.
The meeting discussed ways of better aligning asylum systems and how to crack down on illegal immigration, a statement said.
It came at a time when France is mired in controversy over this summer's crackdown on Roma camps, something French Immigration Minister Luc Besson defended to journalists.
"There was an acceleration in August. We scrupulously respected Community law, scrupulously respected French law and we scrupulously respected our Republican principles: firmness and humanity," Besson said.
James Brokenshire, a secretary of state at the UK's Home Office, said the countries had to work closely together: "Very much it is about practical cooperation and that has been the underlying theme between all of the discussions that we have had during the course of this morning's meeting."
Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister, defended expulsions of Roma from his country similar to those from France and called on European countries to implement existing rules governing how long EU citizens can stay in other countries more efficiently.
"I think we have to work to make the rules that already exist more efficient: no threats, no negotiations, no special negotiations between members of the European Union," he told reporters.
A United Nations human rights body rebuked France recently for its crackdown on Roma and urged the government to try to integrate members of the EU's biggest ethnic minority as part of a Europe-wide solution.
18 independent experts urged Sarkozy's centre-right government to combat what they called a worrying rise in racist and xenophobic discourse by some politicians.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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