Friday, September 29, 2006

Sarkozy slams Spain for illegal alien debacle.

EU: Zappo tries a comeback but Sarkozy landed the uppercut that decided the match.

France and Spain have become embroiled in a row over immigration after the French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, criticised the Spanish government for an immigration amnesty that saw 580,000 foreigners receive work and residency papers last year. Mr Sarkozy, who is expected to fight for France's presidency on a centre-right ticket next year, said the socialist government of the Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, had been encouraging illegal immigrants to breach Europe's frontiers. "Look what has happened in the Canary Islands," Mr Sarkozy said on the France 2 television channel, referring to the 20,000 African immigrants who had reached the Spanish islands over the past year. "There has been a knock-on effect," he said. "Spain cannot control the flow of clandestine immigrants." He added: "You cannot tell Europe that you will, unilaterally, decide to give papers to half a million illegal immigrants and then call on it for help when you are trying to deal with the consequences." Mr Zapatero hit back in the Spanish parliament. "This government does not place any worth on the words of a French interior minister after all we have seen happen in the Paris suburbs as a result of immigration policy," he said, referring to the outbreaks of violence and rioting in French cities last year.

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