The Balearics, along with Spain's other islands and coastal regions, are the key magnets for immigrants, but yesterday the chief police commissioner for Immigration, Manuel Prieto, said in Palma that the police's current strategy for dealing with the “minor conflicts caused by immigration are sufficient.” Addressing the opening day of a seminar of “management of security in multi-ethnic societies” being held in the capital, Prieto said that “at a maximum,” 2.5 per cent, around one million people, in Spain are immigrants. The conference has been organised by the Director General of Police and financed by the European Commission's Odysseus programme to provide police forces with the opportunity to discuss and study the different solutions to certain problems caused in Europe by immigration. Prieto said that while the percentage of immigrants is Spain is much smaller than Germany's 11 per cent or Luxembourg's 17 per cent, “Spain is the north of the south” for many of the countries from where many of Europe's immigrants originate from. Prieto, who highlighted that nearly half of the one million immigrants are from European Union countries, also pointed out that 20 per cent of prisoners in Spanish jails are foreign, one of the lowest percentages in the European Union, but he warned that immigrants who do not have their residence permits, “must not be confused” with foreign criminals.

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