Move expected to restrain passport-free travel for 400 million in 25 countries
26th April, 2011: Partial reintroduction of national border controls across Europe is expected to be mooted keeping in view the influx of immigrants. The move is expected to put brakes on European addition and restrain passport-free travel for more than 400 million people in 25 countries.
The French president and the Italian prime minister are expected to meet in Rome after weeks of stress between the two countries over how to manage the arrival of more than 25,000 immigrants escaping revolutions in north Africa.
The migrants, mostly Tunisian, reached the EU by way of Italian islands such as Lampedusa, but many expected to get work in France where they have relatives and friends. About 25,000 migrants have turned up in southern Italy so far this year.
Meanwhile, Italy has annoyed France by giving away visas to large number of refugees, allowing them to travel across Europe’s border-free Schengen zone.
France had earlier assured to honour the temporary visas, Italy granted to the migrants. But now France has stated it will turn away those who cannot hold up themselves monetarily.
Last week, French gendarmes sent back Tunisian migrants trying to cross the border from Italy.
Earlier this month the two countries approved joint sea and air watch to try to stop African migrants reaching Europe.
The unrest in North Africa has activated a huge movement of migrants to Europe. Many head first to the Italian island of Lampedusa, which lies about 120km (75 miles) off the Tunisian coast.
There are reports that officials from both countries have made an agreement on altering the Schengen treaty so that national border checks can be reintroduced.
The 1995 Schengen treaty allows legal residents of most EU countries, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland to travel across the zone without visas.