Britain to help Italy deal with migrant problem

May extends support to Italy

22nd April, 2011:  Even as huge numbers of migrants enter Europe, the Home Secretary Theresa May has insisted that Britain was not ready for any kind of burden sharing.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Home Secretary has told her EU counterparts that Britain was not ready to join any liability division. Italy, where the migrants are arriving on a daily basis, had urged its EU partners to help relieve the stress by accepting some of the migrants.

May in a recent meeting of her justice and home affairs counterparts asserted that Britain would offer support only to Italy to help deal with the issue there.

The statement comes at a time when more than 25,000 Tunisians have arrived in Italy since turbulence and thousands of Libyans were expected to try to move towards Europe. More than 14,000 crossed into Tunisia in the last two weeks alone.

More migrants from sub-Sahara Africa are also likely to move because Col Muammar Gaddafi is no longer stopping them in Libya.

The Conservative MEP for South East England, Richard Ashworth, said that the Calais authorities had recently taken action to remove the immigrants in the town intending to enter the UK.

He asserted that both the French and British authorities needed to remain watchful to make sure that this jam does not occur again, if large number of people from North Africa enters France

Under the Schengen agreement, citizens in 25 EU nations are allowed to travel across borders without having their passports checks.

In a meeting held last week, of May’s, justice and home affairs counterparts the home secretary insisted that she would repeat her firm stance when the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting will be held next month.

A Home Office spokesman asserted that a widespread asylum system or new law would not resolve the unparalleled arrival of migrants at Europe’s Mediterranean border.

The spokesman added that Britain had offered Italy realistic aid to help maintain their border controls and asylum processes. Those looking for international protection were expected to claim asylum in the first safe country they entered.

The spokesman clarified that those who had no genuine claim to protection should be returned to their home countries rapidly.

The spokesman added that they held the right to not opt into any agreement which would deteriorate Britain’s borders.

The British MEPs had also cautioned that migrants could come towards Britain. Britain was being seen as a soft option and the MEPs had also suggested action to stop camps building up at Calais. The UK and Ireland are not part of the agreement and control their own borders.

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