French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are calling for border checks and changes to Europe’s open border policy to combat the influx of approximately 30,000 Norther African immigrants.The move comes as a result of surging immigration from the revolutionary states of North Africa. Both leaders are also under pressure from rising right-wing, anti-EU and anti-immigration sentiment in their countries.
Italy has born the brunt of the emigres due to its proximity to Africa, while France has been a destination for many Francophone Tunisians.
Analysts doubt the Shengen Agreement will be amended, instead the action is seen many to be a response to Right Wing pressure in both France and Italy. Sarkozy, with upcoming Presidential elections, is seeking to neuter Marine Le Pen’s National Front. Berlusconi may be seeking to placate the Lega Nord, a Right Wing ally in his coalition government.