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Delo - Slovenia | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

EU leaves Italy in the lurch

At their summit meeting on Monday the EU interior ministers refused to provide direct help for accommodating the many refugees from North Africa. Rome's plan to grant tourist visas to illegal immigrants met with heavy criticism. The daily Delo counters that there's no need for panic: "Because only those refugees with passports and proof that they are financially independent will receive a visa. The EU European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström has made this perfectly clear. For that reason the feared mass exodus that has aroused animosity in France, Germany and Austria is unlikely. At the same time it must not be forgotten that after its independence Slovenia was hit by two major waves of refugees. At the start of the 1990s around 70,000 refugees from the Balkan War fled here. Ten years later the [Second] Gulf War drove roughly 40,000 refugees to Slovenia, which is 30 times smaller than Italy."

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