Rabat – Spain is determined to help Morocco in its campaign against irregular migration. On Tuesday, Spanish Secretary of State for Migration Consuelo Rumi said that Spain has asked the European Commission to “urgently” release the financial aid it promised Morocco to manage migratory issues and to fight terrorism.
Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported on statements Rumi gave to Spanish media, in which the Spanish official said that the Spanish government is calling on the European Commission to give Morocco the €140 million it promised before March.
Rumi reportedly made the remarks following her two-day visit to Brussels where she met EU officials, including European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and European Commissioner for EU Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn.
According to Rumi, the €140 million is not enough for Morocco as it is adopting several policies against organized trafficking and integration regulations for sub-Saharan migrants.
Rumi said that Hahn holds the same point of view that Morocco must be a “strategic partner of the EU not only in the field of migration.”
International news outlets reported on January 18 that Morocco had already received the first payment of €30 million. The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini said that Morocco will soon receive the remainder of the €140 million fund that the EU allocated for Morocco to tackle irregular migration.
The financial aid granted by the EU is part of the fund promised by the European Commission in December 2018. The European Commission pledged €148 million to financially assist Morocco. In a statement, the commission said that it was “intensifying its support to Morocco to address irregular migration in response to increased migratory pressure along the Western Mediterranean Route.”
Both Spain and Morocco face pressure due to the flow of migrants who take the sea route or cross the land borders between the two countries to reach Europe.
The National Observatory of Migration announced in January that Moroccan police thwarted 88,761 irregular migration attempts in 2018. About 80 percent of the migrants (70,571) were not Moroccans, according to the National Observatory of Migration.