France considers suspending Schengen amid migration pressure: report

12:53, April 23, 2011      

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France is considering the possibility of suspending Schengen agreement, which allow the free movement of goods and people across member countries, in the hope to easing pressure of migration inflows from North Africa, the Elysee Palace was quoted by local media as saying on Friday.

According to media reports, the French presidency believes present governance of Schengen mechanism has flaws that became obvious as unrest in Libya and Tunisia triggering a wave of refugees.

There existed "a systemic failure at an external border of the EU," an unnamed source at the presidency was quoted as saying.

In recent weeks, France and Italy have disputed over control of illegal immigrants. France has voiced its unhappiness to Italy's decision that immigrants could have a three-month-visa allowing a free move across the European bloc.

Last Sunday, France stopped a train from Italy carrying illegal immigrants who "sought simply to get round Schengen rules" from Genoa, Venice and other major Italy cities. France will also trim the number of legal migrants by 10 percent per year to 180,000 in part to cope with flows of illegal migrants, Interior Minister Claude Gueant said Monday.

Earlier reports said Italian authorities have arrested since January more than 25,000 illegal migrants. Most of them were Tunisians.

Source: Xinhua
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