NEWSDESK FOR years, southern EU states including Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta have complained that their EU counterparts are failing to help them cope with an increasing flow of migrants from Africa and it now appears that European assistance may be forthcoming.

Illegal immigration has even become a problem for the Balearics over the past few years with special maritime radar detection systems being installed and yesterday, tighter border controls, common asylum rules and more cross-border policing were called for as part of a blueprint to revamp the EU's nascent common immigration, security and justice policies.

The plans envision closer cooperation and information sharing in combatting organized crime, terrorism and illegal immigration, among other areas. They also include increasing data protection rights for citizens.

The proposed measures also include rules on electronic registration and data collection from foreigners entering and exiting the EU similar to the U.S. practice of fingerprinting visitors.