By Carlo Zanetti
By Carlo Zanetti
Rabat – On Saturday and Sunday, the Spanish coast guard rescued 397 migrants near the Strait of Gibraltar.
The migrants, trying to cross from Morocco to Spain, came on nine different boats, as reported on the official Twitter account of the coast guard.
The numbers of the last month testify to the increasingly delicate situation which the Spanish interior ministry is handling. On July 26, 602 migrants illegally crossed the Morocco-Spain border into Ceuta. On July 27 and 28, the Spanish coast guard rescued approximately 1,000 migrants in the sea.
Although the migrating influx from North Africa to Europe has decreased considerably since 2015, Spain has witnessed a major increase in the number of arrivals over the last months. The trend has certainly been influenced by the new political maneuvers of the Italian Ministry of the Interior, geared towards implementing policies on refusal of entry.
For the first time, Spain has taken over Italy as the main destination for migrants leaving North Africa, having recorded almost 21,000 arrivals during the first half of 2018 alone, according to numbers released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The EU had originally agreed to spend €55 million to help Tunisia and Morocco manage their frontiers, but at the end of July European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted that Brussels is willing to increase funding to both Morocco and Spain. Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has asked the EU for a contribution of €35 million.
Given Juncker’s notice, it appears that Madrid’s request will be granted. Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez is facing protests from his opponents, who are blaming his welcoming policies as the cause of the sharp increase of undocumented immigration into the country.