The immigration emergency is worsening. A meeting of the Council of Ministers has been convened for Wednesday 30 March at Palazzo Chigi [seat of the government] in Rome, whose main agenda item will be the accord with Tunisia. On Friday last Ministers Franco Frattini and Robert Maroni met in Tunis with Prime Minister Caid Essebsi and the interior and foreign ministers to discuss immigration management.
Head of State Giorgio Napolitano, on an official visit to New York, responded to a question in the margins of the “Industria Gallery” exhibition being held there, saying that, regarding the new immigration wave toward Italy, “every so often there are positions, rather hasty reactions at the level of public opinion” that must not be indulged; rather it is necessary to recall our past as the number one country in Europe for number of emigrants, and to “govern” the new situation being created even if that “is not simple”.
According to Minister Frattini, “What we need is a marriage of solidarity and respect for the law”. On the solidarity front “we are second to none. In recent hours we have taken in a huge number of real refugees, Eritreans and Somalis”, the minister said, pointing out that Tunisians, on the other hand, were not refugees fleeing war, and adding that “they should be proud to go back to their country to take part in the process of democratic transition. If they do not, European laws will be applied to them”.
The conclusions of the European Council held Friday in Brussels take a stance on the immigration issue. The European Union and its members, they state, affirm that they “are ready to show their concrete solidarity” with the States most directly involved in migratory movements and to provide the necessary support on the basis of how the situation develops”. The European Commission is to draft a plan for managing immigrant and refugee flows before the June European Council meeting. It will also work toward an agreement on strengthening the operational capacity of Frontex within the month of June.