María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the Spanish Vice-President, has asked for more help from the European Union to deal with the unprecedented numbers of immigrants arriving in Spain from Africa. The request was made following a meeting with the Finnish prime minister, Matti Vanhanen this week. The request will be made once again in Brussels today at a meeting with the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso.
Spain would like operation Frontex to continue patrolling the international waters between Spain and Africa. This operation is due to end in September. De la vega has requested that it be extended to at least Decemember. Operation Frontex was brought into action last month following the constant arrival of immigrants in boats from Africa.
She also suggested setting up a integrated organisation consisting of Mediterranean countries most affected by the problem of illegal immigration -Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia in order to control maritime borders.
She hopes that they can agree on a proposal to be debated at the European Summit in December.
De la Vega believes that illegal immigration is a problem that faces the EU not just individual countries. However, Fiso Roscam, the EU spokesperson on Justice, Freedom and Security, has said that no more help is available and that material help, such as Frontex will only be available until 2007 and that this depends on what each state is prepared to offer voluntarily.
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