Berlusconi, Barroso hold talks on immigration emergency, financial stability

14:10, March 15, 2011      

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (R) shakes hands with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as they meet at the Chigi Palace of Rome, capital of Italy, March 14, 2011. The situation in Libya, humanitarian emergencies in North Africa, immigration questions and the euro's stability were the main topics of the meeting. (Xinhua/Wang Yunjia)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met on Monday with European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso to discuss the immigration emergency triggered by the Libyan crisis and Europe's financial stability.

Speaking at a joint press conference here following the meeting, Berlusconi said Italy expected "a concrete support" by the European Union in dealing with the mass arrivals of Maghreb refugees on its shores considering that "immigration was a common problem."

Barroso reassured the Italian government and promised that Europe was ready to offer cooperation by means of a greater " burden-sharing approach."

"Italy can count on the political and financial solidarity of the European Union for handling the immigrants that may arrive from North Africa, especially Libya. The entire commission, and I personally, want to share responsibilities and duties. Italy is at the front-line on the southern Mediterranean coasts and the worries of its government are comprehensible," said the EC president.

"Europe is on the side of all the people fighting for freedom and a better future, and we intend to contribute in paving the way for such an historical change. The Mediterranean must unite, not divide us," he added.

Regarding the EU's financial stability, Barroso guaranteed that the euro's stability had been lately strengthened with more credible rules by the Eurogroup, while Berlusconi said Italy strictly abided to the common "EU recipe of blending fiscal discipline with economic growth."

"The Italian government is constantly monitoring public finances and cutting down on excessive spending to relaunch the economy," said Berlusconi.

Barroso and Berlusconi discussed as well the tragedy in Japan, expressing their sympathy for the Japanese people. The EU's executive head also said that a European relief mission might soon be launched to help Japan.

Source: Xinhua

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