South American leaders attending a summit of the regional trade bloc,
Mercosur, have strongly criticized a new immigration policy adopted by
the European Union last month.
The presidents voiced their opposition to the EU policy Tuesday, the last day of their two-day summit in Tucuman, Argentina.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva described the EU measures as
"xenophobic" while his Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, called
The EU adopted the new immigration rules on
June 18, and they are to take effect by 2010. The policy allows
governments to detain illegal immigrants for up to 18 months and
imposes a re-entry ban of up to five years.
Thousands of Latin Americans migrate to Europe in search of job opportunities.
The EU estimates eight to 12 million illegal immigrants live in Europe.
Mercosur members also discussed the global food crisis at their talks.
was created in 1991 and includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay
as full members. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are
associate members. Venezuela expects to join as a full member.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.