INTERNATIONAL

E.U. to toughen stand on 'economic migrants'

Brussels Aug. 10. The estimates of so-called "illegal economic migrants'' from third world countries, often masquerading as political "asylum seekers'' in the more prosperous capitals of the European Union nation states , currently range from half a million to million illegal migrants every year. The main countries attracting illegal migrants from third world developing countries are Britain, Germany and Italy in the first range followed by Spain, Scandinavian and Benelux countries in the second range.

The saga of illegal economic migrants masquerading as `asylum seekers'' consistently evokes extreme emotions among E.U. citizens. This is reflected in European Union political and economic forums with an exaggerated xenophobic tone. This has bred spectre of racism, particularly at the middle and lower levels of the European society. Under the six monthly rotating Italian presidency of the European Union, both the Italian and British Prime Ministers, are seen taking special initiative first to "co-ordinate' existing policies of 15 E.U. nation states on immigration and then to structure a common European Union policy on the subjects of immigration, and in process toughen existing rules of granting political asylum. The political asylum seekers from Islamic countries — like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are particularly resented, in background of terrorist acts launched by Islamic religious extremists. However, it is not often realised that the vast majority of economic migrants are currently originating from poorer and politically unstable African countries.

According to media reports, the E.U. countries may soon resolve that failed asylum seekers may be instantly deported to their countries of origin by any mode of transport available. This may include charted aircrafts, buses or trains and unmarked police cars, until when they are finally removed from the regions of the European Union nation states. The strategy is to avoid providing asylum seekers even "temporary accommodation'' as soon as their country of origin has been identified.

The E.U. officials may soon draw up "guidelines'' for immigration officers to determine which countries are rated as "politically oppressive and unstable'' and if its citizens have genuine reasons to seek political asylum in the European Union m ember states.

According to a European official, for example, Pakistan, Iraq and North African Arab countries, are currently rated as politically stable where the Governments are engaged in containing the security challenges posed by Islamic fundamentalists.

Hence, an average E.U. immigration official may conclude that nationals from such countries, illegally entering the E.U. countries are deemed to be illegal economic migrants.

They would then be `escorted' out of E.U., while legitimate legal measures would also be used to prevent them from escaping and `melting' away into pockets of illegal immigrant communities in more prosperous European cities.

The Italian E.U. presidency has taken the initiative to launch a better coordinated and effective strategy to toughen asylum laws, and according to informed observers, there is growing determination among the 15 E.U. Governments to step up the pace of deportation of illegal immigrants.