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Summit chance to start talking positively about migration -Euro-MP

April 6, 2004 12:00 AM

Today's summit on immigration would not have been necessary if Blair and Blunkett had been positive about migration. Instead they have been feeding a climate of fear says West Midlands Euro-MP Liz Lynne.

Speaking ahead of the summit the Liberal Democrat MEP said:

"The chaos and confusion surrounding the immigration services in this country is entirely of the Government's making. They pandered to the right wing press by setting targets and introducing unnecessary legislation.

"During the summit the Prime Minister should tell his Home Secretary to lay off draconian legislation, such as removing benefits from the children of asylum seekers, and get out and start talking positively about migration."

"We need a twin track approach to immigration policy. The first is to recognise that asylum seekers and refugees are a consequence of conflict, and therefore we must work positively to help ensure international stability.

"The second track is to develop a legally managed route for some legitimate economic migrants to find work and enter the country on short term contracts where there are no workers from that Member State to fill those particular jobs. By fooling ourselves that we can simply raise the drawbridge, we close ourselves off to significant economic advantages in terms of gaining skills and workers from overseas."

Liz Lynne added:

"I remain concerned that the planned inquiry in to the workings of the immigration department is not going to provide adequate answers. The allegations raised in connection with ECAA applications from Bulgaria and Romania have widened the scope of Ken Sutton's investigation to include the Foreign Office as well as the Home Office. This summit should recognise that the only way to restore public confidence is through a full independent inquiry.

Liz Lynne MEP went on to demand a common policy across the EU.

"It is important that the Council of Ministers complete moves towards a common Asylum and immigration policy by the accession date of May 1st. We need to ensure common procedures and rules in order to have a level playing field across the EU."

ENDS