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G6 meeting with the United States

The G6 is an unofficial group of the more powerful Member States in the European Council, which meets to tackle immigration and security issues. The need to reach agreements with origin or transit countries in order to control illegal immigration, and the measures required for better intercepting mafia financing and money-laundering networks were the focus of the meeting of the G6 and the United States, held in Varese (Italy).

As such, the meeting was attended by the Italian interior minister, Roberto Maroni, and his counterparts Thomas de Maizière from Germany; Brice Hortefeux from France; Theresa May from the United Kingdom and Jerzy Miller from Poland.

The meeting, the 14th of its kind, was also attended by the Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba; the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, and the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.

“Significant fall”

During the first session, which focused on immigration issues, the Spanish Presidency highlighted the “significant fall” in the arrival of illegal immigrants due to the agreements signed with southern Mediterranean countries, especially Libya.

Rubalcaba pointed out that so far this year, the number of small boats reaching Spanish shores has fallen by 80% compared to the same period last year and that in the first months of 2010, 543 immigrants arrived, compared with 2,837 for the same months in 2009.

“If we have had some success, it has been managing to involve third countries, transit countries and countries of origin in the fight against illegal immigration. However, in general, the ideal thing would be for the immigrants not to set out, because if they do, they put themselves in the hands of criminal gangs and they put their lives at risk”, he added.

The Spanish Interior Minister affirmed that “the recipe for success” in ensuring that immigrants do not leave their countries of origin illegally, is for those countries and transit countries to take preventative measures, through good policing and border-control systems, and to provide legal immigration channels.

The second work session, which took place on Saturday morning, focused on the fight against organised crime and the importance of investigation into money laundering and financing methods as the best formula for reaching these networks.

The participating countries agreed that the Spanish Presidency and the European Commission should coordinate the organisation of a meeting of technical experts on money laundering in Brussels, which will be the continuation of an earlier conference held in February in Alicante.

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