Tuesday 19 September 2006, by European Commission
The Commission today decided to co-finance six specific emergency measures in Spain, Malta and Italy under its ARGO 2005/2006 programme.
Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission with responsibility for justice, freedom and security issues, stated: »Today’s decision by the Commission to provide funding for six ARGO emergency projects is an immediate and practical demonstration of EU solidarity that is part of an overall strategy. I have supported the efforts of the FRONTEX Agency this summer by providing an additional €3.4 million for the Agency’s 2006 budget in order to organise joint maritime operations. I would like to see the Member States be more involved in the pooling of resources for the Agency. A common strategy must be developed for the integrated management of maritime borders. EU solidarity must also be one aspect of a frank discussion on European immigration policy, which the Commission is actively seeking to define.»
This decision is a practical demonstration of the Commission’s determination to act quickly in order to provide immediate and effective assistance to the Member States having to deal with the problem of illegal immigration by sea and to avoid any more loss of human life.
Three of the projects are being implemented by Spain, two by Malta and one by Italy, with co-financing totalling €3.28 million. They are scheduled to last four months.
The aim of two of the three Spanish projects is to strengthen the local first aid and reception structures for illegal immigrants in the Canary Islands. The third one involves continuing maritime surveillance in order to prevent illegal immigration from Mauritania.
One of the Maltese projects also involves tighter maritime surveillance and search and rescue operations around the Maltese islands, and the other concerns improvements in the reception and living conditions in the centres for illegal immigrants.
The Italian project is located on Lampedusa and consists in boosting the resources for immediate assistance to illegal immigrants when they land on the island and building up the Italian authorities’ reception facilities.
The list of projects co-financed from the ARGO programme can be found at:
Brussels, 19 September 2006
Source : Europa