EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot has told Italy, in very clear terms, that it could not return immigrants to countries where their life was threatened.
Answering questions from members of the European Parliament, Commissioner Barrot said that following the warning, Italy had told the EU that it had not sent back any more migrants and announced a visit to Libya.
Mr Barrot said the commission had asked the Italian government for explanations on how some boats with irregular migrants, some asking for humanitarian protection, were returned to Libya.
He spoke about the voluntary burden sharing proposals for the immigration burden to be shared among the 27 EU states but said that obligatory burden sharing was not possible. He said that the voluntary measures were being embarked upon through a pilot project tailor-made for Malta.