European Union presidency

France is scheduled to take over the European Union presidency in the latter part of 2008. The current Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, who was appointed on May 17, 2007, has already made it clear that he will strongly urge the 27-member bloc to approve an immigration charter that will have the effect of producing a uniform policy for all member states to prevent immigrants from targeting one state over the other due to diverse immigration policies. Fillon maintains that such a charter “would harmonize visa and naturalization policies in the border-free Schengen area” .

The Schengen zone (illustrated in Appendix A) effectively eliminates borders between countries which have signed the Schengen Agreement and includes Western Europe, Iceland and Norway. Those states which have signed the agreement have effected a “free-travel” zone which allows travelers to cross borders at will without a passport. According to Fillon, “Europe is facing more and larger waves of immigration…we have rules on free movement, at least in the Schengen area, and when we have free movement we need common rules, for example on asylum and the naturalisation of illegal immigrants” .

Conclusion France, much the same as Canada, has experienced growing pains in recent years as a direct result of increased immigration into the country. Efforts to stem the flow of immigrants such as co-development and targeted immigration are being instituted in an effort to take control of the burgeoning population combined with high unemployment rate. Events such as the war in Iraq have recently contributed to the immigration problems in many countries. While most will uphold their commitment to offer asylum to those in need, this is becoming an increasingly difficult proposition.

France is doing its best as a country to remain neutral and provide a safe haven for those who need it most but it must control its immigration policies to remain able to do so in the future. Appendix A Participating Countries, Schengen Agreement (Source: Wikipedia, http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement) Implementing countries Implementing through partnership with a signatory state Members implementing from 12/21/2007 (overland borders and seaports) and 3/28/2008 (airports)

Members (not yet implemented) Expressed interest in joining Bibliography “A new broom in Paris: France to pay immigrants to return home” (May 24, 2007). Spiegel Online International. Retrieved November 28, 2007 from the Spiegel

Website: http://www. spiegel. de/international/europe/0,1518,484716,00. html. “France” (updated November 15, 2007). The CIA World Factbook. Retrieved November 28, 2007 from the CIA Website: https://www. cia. gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fr. html#People.