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£25m EU aid for Italy's boat people

Italy is to get 30 million euros (£25 million) in EU funds to help settle refugees after the sinking of a migrant boat off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa killed at least 275 people.

The head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso announced the aid on a visit to the island and also pledged to work "tirelessly" for an EU-wide asylum policy and to beef up the Frontex border patrol agency to prevent similar tragedies.

He visited Lampedusa with premier Enrico Letta, who announced that the victims of the sinking would receive a state funeral.

Some islanders heckled them, shouting "Shame!" as they arrived. Lampedusans have long complained that they have been forgotten by Italy and the EU and left to cope alone with the thousands of migrants who come ashore each year.

-AP

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