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Schengen travel deal 'must change'

Italy and France want the EU to change the rules on passport-free travel between countries to help deal with huge swathes of immigation.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed a joint appeal over the Schengen agreement to the EU leadership during a summit on Tuesday.

France has harshly criticised Italy for granting temporary residency permits to 20,000 Tunisian migrants who arrived in Italy since the start of the year following the revolt there; most want eventually to get to France.

France last week stopped a train carrying Tunisian immigrants from Italy at the French border, sending back those who could not support themselves financially.

"We want Schengen to survive, but to survive Schengen must be reformed," Mr Sarkozy said after the meeting.

"We believe in free circulation but we believe in a state of law and a certain number of rules."

Mr Berlusconi said no one wanted to cancel the treaty but said "in exceptional circumstances we believe there must be variations."

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