After the recent clampdown on migrants entering the EU on the route between Libya and Italy, Spain has become the new main point of entry. An increasing number of migrants are now taking the route through Morocco and across to the Southern coast of Spain. According to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration, as of last month, 18,600 migrants arrived in Spain this year. This has caused an increasing amount of tension between the Spanish government and its opposition parties.
In order to resolve the issue, the Spanish government has requested an additional €35 million of funding, most of which has now been pledged by the European Commission. In a recent statement, the Commission agreed to provide Spain with an additional €3 million. This means the total amount of funding will now be €30 million, and most of the money will go towards employing extra staff for the Guardia Civil, who patrol the southern border of the country.
As of the 18th July, it’s estimated that 18,600 migrants have arrived in Spain from Morocco via the Mediterranean this year alone. Even though these numbers are small in comparison to those seen in Greece in previous years, it’s twice as high as seen in the first half of 2017. Pablo Casado, who is a member of the “People’s Party” in Spain, recently claimed that Spain was unable to provide papers to the “millions of Africans wanting to come to Europe.”
According to Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud: “Spain has requested additional emergency assistance, which we have received and are now assessing swiftly.” She added that the trend is “not new”, and the EU leaders have already promised to provide Spain with more support to help with the rising number of new arrivals.
She also noted that the EU was planning to increase its financial aid to Morocco for border controls. “European cooperation in the field of migration with Morocco spans back 10 years. In fact, they are our oldest partner in terms of technical and financial support in this area,” she said. In an article published in the newspaper El Pais, it was reported that Morocco has relaxed its border control in recent months in order to secure this funding. Bertaud claims that the funding to Morocco now totals around €100 million.
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