Ministers of the interior from the so-called G5 Group have found an agreement on joint deportation flights for illegal immigrants and refused asylum seekers.
At their meeting in the French town of Evian, the ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain agreed to introduce regular flights of shuttle airplanes which will pick up illegal immigrants in the five countries, then drop them in the countries they are to be deported to. The plans had been proposed by Spain’s interior minister José Antonio Alonso. According to French minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the flights could start “in a matter of days”.
In addition, Mr Sarkozy announced plans for joint naval patrols of the three G5 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea in order to curb illegal immigration from Northern Africa. Mr Sarkozy, who hopes to win the 2005 Presidential elections in his country with a tough stance on immigration, also proposed to the G5 summit to limit immigration into the five countries every year to a certain number of immigrants.