Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-02-03-Speech-2-327"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, ‘To thwart illegal immigration, one has to be unkind. Immigrants come because it is easy to get here and no one sends them away, but precisely for this reason we have decided on a change of tune’: these are the words of the Italian Minister for the Interior, Mr Maroni. It seems a parody of a policy and yet it is the policy of the Italian Government. It seems clear to me that inherent in this policy is a profound contempt for what we are discussing here and for the rules that the European Union gives us. Today, we have spoken about the closure of Guantánamo. I think that we need to speak urgently about the closure of Lampedusa: about the Centre for Temporary Stay and Assistance in Lampedusa, as it has been pictured in recent months, namely as an open­air prison. The Presidency has rightly recalled the legal framework, referred to also by Mr Barrot – the use of coercion only in exceptional cases, detention only on absolutely clear grounds and for as short a period as possible – a legal framework that is substantively and formally violated every day in Lampedusa. Most of those who are in Lampedusa are asylum seekers. The Council recalled the minimum standards envisaged by a Directive on asylum seekers adopted in 2003; these rules are being substantively and formally violated. We often have 180 days of detention, including for those who are fleeing from political persecution or war. All this, of course, constitutes acts of legal barbarism which, however, are measured by the numbers offered to us by newspapers. 1 200 people died in 2008 when trying to cross the Mediterranean. Of those who managed to survive, many went through the torments of Lampedusa. Therefore, Mr Vice-President, I invite you to visit Lampedusa, as you yourself have promised, to go there soon, and (if I may make a suggestion) to announce at the last moment that you are going to Lampedusa. Otherwise they will smarten up the Centre like a ballroom for you and make you imagine that this is the detention centre that we are talking about this evening."@en1

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