by MONITOR
THE growing problem of illegal African immigration to Europe seems likely to get increasing attention in the coming months. The leaders of the eight southern European states have sent a joint letter to the Finnish presidency of the European Union, calling for “strong mobilisation” of resources. The signatories are the governments of Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain; it is understood that Paris, Madrid and Rome took the initative over the letter which urges “financial aid and resource deployment at the European level” as well as a “joint commitment from the migrants' countries of origin, transit and destination”. Not all EU states sympathise with the Mediterranean countries that are in the front line of the immigration problem. Last week the German interior minister, Wolfgang Schauble, was quoted as saying that Germany had handled earlier immigration waves itself and that “Those who want to solve problems must stop asking for the money of others.” Nor is there general sympathy for Spain which is coping with the largest number of immigrant arrivals in the Canaries. Austria, France and the Netherlands have at different times criticised Spain's decision last year, apparently taken without wider consultation, to regularise the status of around 600'000 immigrants already working illegally in the country.