SPAIN: EUROPEAN UNION LEADERS REACH PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROLSRecord ID: 677758
- Title: SPAIN: EUROPEAN UNION LEADERS REACH PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROLS
- Date: 22nd June 2002
- Summary: (W5) SEVILLE, SPAIN (JUNE 21, 2002) (REUTERS) MV BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR ARRIVING SLV GROUP PHOTOGRAPH AT FRONT GATES OF CONGRESS CENTRE (3 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVAA6VKG4WUP01JA5WO0ROVY94IU
- Location: SEVILLE, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Duration: 00:00:30
- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: EU leaders on Friday reached a preliminary agreement on controlling influxes of illegal immigrants into the European Union. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder took time off to watch his country's soccer team win 1-0 against the United States and British foreign secretary Jack Straw expressed anger at two bombs that exploded in Spain injuring several foreigners, including Britons.
EU leaders grappled with the fraught issue of illegal immigration on Friday (June 21, 2002) but two car bombs in nearby Spanish tourist resorts could drive European concerns about political violence higher up their summit agenda.
The 15 European Union leaders, meeting in Seville amid tight security, hope to forge a deal during their two-day meeting that will calm public fears on immigration and stem the rise of populist far-right parties across the wealthy bloc.
But before the summit began, six people including three British tourists were hurt when a car bomb blew up outside a hotel at a popular beach resort about 200 km (120 miles) away and then a second explosion rocked the coastal town of Marbella. There were no immediate reports of injuries in the second blast.
The leaders were also to discuss reforms to make EU summits more efficient and they were spared a potentially awkward row with France over reining in its budget deficit after finance ministers agreed on a fudge in Madrid in the small hours.
The summit began two hours later than usual to allow leaders time to reach the conference centre after a Spanish general strike on Thursday created transport chaos.
Anxious to crown a six-month EU presidency thatthis month with a deal on immigration, Spain retreated from earlier proposals for the EU to threaten financial sanctions against countries that did not cooperate in controlling migrant flows.
"Europe needs immigration. We need all the mechanisms that guarantee the rights of the migrants who enter legally in the European Union. We need to establish integration mechanisms of those immigrants into our societies. The only way to do this is in an orderly and adequate, while at the same time avoiding illegal immigration," Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique said.
The latest version of its draft proposals for a common EU approach spoke only of possible political measures towards states that do not comply in the clampdown on illegal migrants.
To show they are getting tough on the estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants entering the bloc each year, the leaders of the EU's 370 million people were expected to adopt an action plan to tighten border controls, set deadlines for adopting a common asylum policy and expel rejected immigrants more quickly.
"There wasn't a single head of government who wasn't profoundly concerned about the levels of illegal migration into the European Union. There is a need for action to be taken to deal with that alongside the need for us to develop a positive programme of legal lawful migration and of course continue to deepen all our efforts with the developing world to bear down as much as we could on poverty and inequality and bad governance which for sure are the major motors of illegal migration into the European Union," said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
The leaders are expected to set a timetable in Seville for the final lap of the enlargement race which envisages clearing up outstanding differences on farm aid to the candidates by early November and closing the accession talks in December.
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