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EU Immigration Reform Next Month

Published måndag 24 augusti 2009 kl 18.23
Sweden's Immigration Minister Tobias Billström

As president of the EU, Sweden is leading proposals to reform the Union's policy on immigration amid a growing number of refugees risking their lives to flee across the mediterranean.

Sweden's Immigration Minister Tobias Billström told AFP news that the proposals, to be presented next month, concern a "relocation" policy whereby refugees who land by boat in countries such as Italy would be transferred to other EU member states, as well as a more efficient asylum policy, which is aimed at bringing in refugee quotas.

However, enforcing the policies would be voluntary.

"This relocation project is to be presented in September by the vice-president of the European Commission, Jacques Barrot," Billström said.

There have been a number of deaths this year from refugees perishing at sea . Last week, five Eritrean migrants rescued off the Italian island of Lampedusa said 73 other migrants had died during the crossing from Libya and that their bodies had been dumped at sea.

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