New York - The most recent report released by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) said that in 2014 Moroccan authorities prevented a total of 90 attempts to climb over the fences of Melilla and Ceuta, involving more than 18,000 illegal sub-Saharan migrants.
New York – The most recent report released by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) said that in 2014 Moroccan authorities prevented a total of 90 attempts to climb over the fences of Melilla and Ceuta, involving more than 18,000 illegal sub-Saharan migrants.
According to the Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community Joint 2015 Report, cooperation between Morocco and Spain has been key to reducing the number of illegal migrants going from Morocco into Spain through Melilla and Ceuta — two Spanish enclaves in the Moroccan territory.
“Most notably, very good operational cooperation between Spain, Senegal, Mauritania, and Morocco has significantly reduced the pressure on the route towards the Canary Islands and south of Spain,” reads the report.
The reduction in the numbers of the attempts to get into Spain can be explained by the implementation of the readmission agreement between Morocco and Spain, the reinforcement of Moroccan Border Guard Units that are protecting the high fence that was built in Morocco near the border with the Ceuta and Melilla and the “dismantlement of makeshift camps of illegal migrants,” according to the report.
One of the routes used by the migrants is the Western Mediterranean route, through the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, in the north coast of Africa. According to Frontex, the “cooperation between Spain and Morocco has since  kept migrant numbers comparatively low on this route.”
In 2015, 7,164 immigrants illegally crossed the border by sea and land – in trucks and containers on ferries en route to Almeria and Algeciras – of whom 828 were Moroccans, the third most common nationality of migrants reported of illegally crossing the border.
Another route is the Western African route, which connects Senegal, Mauritania, and Morocco with the Canary Islands. According to Frontex, the route “was once the busiest illegal entry point for the whole of Europe,” with 31,600 illegal border crossings to the island in 2006. However, since 2007, repatriation agreements and tighter border controls reduced the entries to 874 in 2015. Today, the route has a high return and readmission risk for migrants.
In 2014, Morocco prevented a total of 12,267 illegal migrants from reaching Spain by sea. Senegalese made up 41 percent of the migrants, followed by the Malians at 33 percent.
The likelihood for migrants of being returned by EU authorities is much lower from Libya, but those who “cannot afford to travel to Libya opt to go to Morocco,” taking the Algeria-Morocco-Spain route, according to the report.