Italian prime minister Romano Prodi and his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero plan to meet in Naples to discuss issues of immigration, as more and more migrants seem to be killed attempting to make the risky trip from Africa. Hundreds of people die each year trying to cross into the two countries to try and reach the European mainland.
While the debate rages across Europe over the possibility of forbidding the Islamic veil, the CDU German minister of the Interior and EU president-elect, Wolfgang Schaueble, has chosen his camp. “I am against the burqa, because it impedes all communication,” he said yesterday. The German government, which has been silent thus far on the question of the veil, now places itself on the side of Jack Straw and Romano Prodi, who both oppose the full face veil, which, unlike the hijab, covers all but a woman’s eyes. Tolerance of the hijab remains the rule in Germany, despite several lawsuits in Bavaria and Baden-Wurtemburg in the past several years. Today, it is the state of Berlin that has the strictest legislation in the country. The hijab is forbidden here throughout the administration. But just as it does not intervene in the regional affairs of its country, the German government will not intervene on the European scale either. The presidency has no intention to legislate on this subject, nor to harmonize the various European laws, which remain quite dissimilar despite a recent trend towards forbidding the veil.