07 APR 2011
BRITAIN could be inundated with migrants fleeing north Africa after Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced plans to give refugees permits to live anywhere in the EU.
The permits would officially give the deluge of refugees who have poured ashore in Italy only the right to travel within the ‘Schengen’ countries such as France, Germany and Holland. They, unlike Britain, do not have border controls.
But campaigners fear the move will make it easy for migrants from strife-torn Tunisia and Libya to cross into the UK. Ukip MEP Gerard Batten said: “The problem here is the European borderless state.
“Obviously these people are going to gravitate to those countries with the best welfare and housing like the UK. There is a human crisis, but this approach would make things permanent, rather than encourage people to return home when peace in Libya and the whole of north Africa finally returns.”
Alp Mehmet of campaign group MigrationWatch said: “Given that we are devoting huge resources to making these countries in north Africa and the Middle East better places to live, the last thing we want is for the people to come over here. There is no reason to waive border controls because of this. What Italy does is a matter for Italy but if it results in there being an open-door policy in Europe, that’s totally wrong.”
Mr Berlusconi revealed his plans to grant EU residency to the migrants after the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa found itself inundated with more than 20,000 north Africans, mostly Tunisians but some Libyans and others, who have arrived in packed boats since unrest began in January.
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