Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-04-23-Speech-3-225"

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"Madam President, we see the harshest and most dramatic face of illegal immigration when good weather arrives at the shores of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Mafia groups operate much more frequently now that there is apparently less risk. That is why this debate is so necessary: to support, facilitate and encourage any initiatives to prevent and neutralise a criminal scourge that puts so many lives in jeopardy and breaches our frontiers with frequent impunity. External action by the European Union is becoming a vital component within such a context. This is borne out by the Montavia and Cape Verde pilot projects. The House recently allowed the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to take part in this task by authorising two trips to Senegal and Mauritania, prime examples of countries of origin and transit for illegal immigrants. EU external action on immigration must henceforth be more active and more visible and focus on much more relevant countries, primarily Guinea-Conakry. Frontex has made good progress in a short period of time. It has funds, EUR 70 million to be precise, and well-designed capacities for coordination, but we need the unambiguous assistance of the Council, for example, to make the CRATE database more than a catalogue of means or a declaration of offers. The problem is persistent and dramatic, and requires us to pursue our efforts and maintain our systems of prevention, assistance and supervision, with resources and staff deployed on a permanent basis and in a timely manner, in the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean. During the first quarter of the year 1 702 immigrants reached the Canaries, as against 1 425 over the same period of the previous year. Now more immigrants are arriving, but they are using fewer boats. In three years 48 305 immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands. It is true that the numbers fell between 2006 and 2007, from 31 000 to 11 000, but the harsh truth is that increasing numbers of immigrants are arriving at Canary Island ports and every day we find bodies in the Mediterranean, either near the coasts of Oran or the Canaries themselves. Moreover, Madam President – and I am finishing up now – between 15% and 20% of repatriated immigrants try again. The problem is thus a persistent one. This is why we need more common global willingness and less common rhetoric."@en1

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