Brussels

Migrant visas not on the agenda says Alfano (2)

We wd shut Brenner border says Kurz

Migrant visas not on the agenda says Alfano (2)

Brussels, July 17 - Giving 200,000 migrants humanitarian visas to travel in Europe, as claimed by the Sunday Times, is not on the government's agenda, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Monday. "We have an overall strategy," the minister said. "This is not an issue on our agenda. Besides, the numbers were made (up) by the newspapers and no one in the Italian government ever issued them". Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said the idea of Italy issuing humanitarian visas for migrants "would be absurd because if people could pass, ever more people would arrive and that would not ease the burden for Italy and Greece". Kurz stressed that "no statement in this direction was made" at today's EU foreign ministers' meeting. If the idea were implemented, he said "we would protect the Brenner frontier. We certainly wouldn't let people go north freely". Alfano went on: "We certainly have a strategy, which aims to be effective and needs European cooperation". As for renewing the mandate of the migrant-rescuing Operation Sophia, on whcih Italy has voiced reservations, Alfano said: "We will face the questions of the renewal and all those that concern its connection with the Triton rules". This discussion, he said, will not take place in today's EU foreign ministers' meeting "but in the proper fora, within the deadline of July 27".

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