Muslim Community Lobby Ireland is an independent organization established 1st May 2007. Its motto is TO USE THE VOTE RIGHTLY AND TO RAISE THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY AWARNESS WITH THEIR RIGHTS AND TO PROMOTE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER EXISTING GROUPS. لترشيد استعمال الصوت الانتخابي ولتوعية وتعريف المسلمين بحقوقهم في ايرلندا وان يعيشوا بتفهم للواقع وللجماعات الاخرى الموجودة على الساحة
Sunday, July 6, 2008
THE GOVERNMENT says it may sign up to a major new initiative designed to crack down on illegal immigration and co-ordinate asylum policies in the EU.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern will meet fellow EU justice ministers in Cannes today to debate a European pact on immigration and asylum.
A draft copy of the pact obtained by The Irish Times shows that it will call on EU states to expel more illegal immigrants, harmonise their asylum procedures and make more effort to integrate immigrants into their societies.
The draft pact states that the EU does not have the resources to decently receive "all who see Europe as an El Dorado".
It also warns that poorly-managed immigration may disrupt the social cohesion of host countries.
"The organisation of immigration must consequently take account of Europe's reception capacity in terms of its labour market, housing, and health, education and social services, and protect migrants against possible exploitation by criminal networks," says the pact, which has been prepared by France, the current holder of the six-month rotating EU presidency.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy has made combating illegal immigration a key priority of his country's EU presidency, arguing that migration flows across Europe mean that states cannot solve the problem alone.
Paris has also indicated that too much immigration is having a corrosive impact on EU public attitudes.
Last week French immigration minister Brice Hortefeux, who has been working on the fine details of the immigration pact, said concerns about immigration were one of the reasons why Irish voters had rejected the Lisbon Treaty last month. His statement corresponds to anecdotal comments made by many local politicians after the treaty result.
However, an opinion poll commissioned by the European Commission found just 1 per cent of voters cited immigration as the primary reason for voting against the treaty.
The draft European Pact on Immigration and Asylum is probably the most comprehensive blueprint for Europe's future immigration policy ever drawn up. It touches on a range of policy areas, including legal migration, how to integrate immigrants, making agreements with migrants' countries of origin to enable deportations, and the issue of regularising illegal immigrants.
EU ministers for justice will debate the draft pact today, and European diplomats expect them to formally sign the eight-page text in October.
A spokesman for Minister for Justice Mr Ahern said last night that the Government was favourably disposed towards the pact, agreed with most of its points, and could envisage signing up to it after debating it more closely.
A decision to sign up to such a policy document would represent a shift in Irish policy towards EU immigration initiatives.
Up until now the Government has chosen not to take part in a range of initiatives in the field, preferring to co-ordinate its policies with Britain to sustain the common travel area between Britain and Ireland. For example, recently the Government chose not to get involved in the co-called Blue Card initiative, which would enable skilled immigrants to come to the EU legally.
However, the Government has taken part in other EU initiatives to combat illegal immigration such as joint repatriation flights for illegal immigrants.
The pact estimates that about two million migrants enter the EU every year. The European Commission estimates that there are up to eight million illegal immigrants currently living in the union. More than 200,000 illegal immigrants were arrested in the first half of 2007, and fewer than 90,000 were expelled, according to the EU executive.