Sunday, May 27, 2012

UK plans to stop Greek influx

The British Home Secretary Theresa May said "work is ongoing" to restrict European immigration in the event of a financial collapse.

The British Home Secretary Theresa May said "work is ongoing" to restrict European immigration in the event of a financial collapse. Photo: Getty Images

THE British government is drawing up plans for emergency immigration controls to curb an influx of Greeks and other European Union residents if the euro collapses.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said "work is ongoing" to restrict European immigration in the event of a financial collapse.

People from throughout the EU, with the exception of new member countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, are able to work anywhere in the single market.

However, there are growing concerns that if Greece was forced to leave the euro, it would effectively go bankrupt and millions could lose their jobs and consider looking for work abroad.

The crisis could spread to other vulnerable countries such as Spain, Ireland and Portugal, although Britain is regarded as a safe haven because it is outside the single currency.

Details of the contingency plan emerged as the euro crisis deepened on Friday. Catalonia was forced to turn to the Spanish government for a bailout and speculation mounted that Bankia, the troubled Spanish bank, would need $24 billion in state support. European markets fell again as the euro dropped in value against other major currencies.

The Home Secretary said while there is no evidence of increased migration at present, it was "difficult to say how it is going to develop in coming weeks".

Several European governments introduced temporary immigration controls when countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic joined the EU, to stop an influx of workers. France also threatened to reintroduce passport controls at the Italian border after an influx of Libyan and Tunisian refugees during the Arab Spring.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said it had made contingency plans to deal with the break-up of the single currency. They involve preparations to evacuate Britons from Greece if civil disobedience spirals out of control and for banks to take steps to protect Britain against euro liabilities.

Ms May indicated she is looking at limiting free movement of labour, irrespective of the financial crisis, and that the issue is already being discussed at a European level.

Germany has reportedly drawn up a six-point plan to rescue Greece and the eurozone's other failed economies in the same way east Germany was rebuilt after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, wants to revitalise the eurozone's weaker countries with a package of privatisations, according to Der Spiegel.

The comments came amid rumours detailed by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ that a "planned departure" for Greece would take place over June 2 and 3.


Israel: Violent Tel Aviv protesters rally against African migrants

 Violence broke out as several hundred people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night against the sizeable community of African immigrants in the city, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.  “Following the violence, we arrested five demonstrators,” Samri added.

The media reported that people shouted xenophobic slogans, such as “blacks out,” and chided the “bleeding heart leftists” who defend immigrants.  There were also reports that two demonstrators attacked a foreigner, and that the windshields of several cars carrying Africans were smashed.

Over the years, an estimated 60,000 Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, have slipped over the border into Israel from Egypt.

Following a number of recent crimes, a lively debate has erupted over the tensions caused by the presence of the large African community concentrated in south Tel Aviv.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “phenomenon of illegal immigration from Africa is extremely serious and threatens the foundations of Israeli society, national security and national identity.”

Israel is building a wall along its border with Egypt and a detention centre in the southern Negev desert.


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