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France wants to reinforce Europe's immigration police

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(WARSAW) - France wants to beef up the means for Europe's border agency Frontex to combat illegal immigration, French minister for immigration Eric Besson said Thursday at Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.

"France wants to reinforce the means of Frontex," he said ahead of a September 21 meeting of interior ministry officials from EU states in Brussels where he intends to elaborate French proposals on the matter.

"Free movement within the Schengen zone is a great achievement and must be protected," Besson said.

Frontex, which has been in operation since October 2005, is in charge of coordinating cooperation between EU member states in managing external land and maritime borders.

This year it's budget stood at 71 million euros (105 million dollars), 60 percent of which was devoted to maritime operations, primarily in the Mediterranean Sea.

Eric Besson was later expected to meet with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in Geneva before travelling to Greece to meet with senior officials and travel on to the Greek island of Samos to witness a Frontex operation in action.

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