The collaboration between Madrid and Rabat has been reinforced in recent years, especially after the recent visit of Pedro Sanchez and the Spanish royal family.
Rabat – Morocco’s migration and border control chief Khalid Zerouali discussed Morocco’s efforts to curb irregular migration, emphasizing that Morocco’s crackdowns on undocumented migration networks helped reduce pressure on Spain.
Zerouali added that 7,202 people managed to reach Spain from Morocco in 2019, “around 2,000 more than in the same period in 2018.”
The new statistics were shared with Reuters on Friday, emphasizing that despite the arrival of the irregular migrants in Spain, the number of arrivals decreased sharply over the following three months.
The border control chief said that Morocco’s strategy to curb undocumented migration proved to be effective, as Moroccan law enforcement stopped 25,000 irregular migration attempts, up 30% compared to the same period in 2018.
He also recognized the decrease of irregular migration attempts at the border fences of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
In the statement, Zerouali denied rumors of an agreement reached between Spain and Morocco to repatriate migrants rescued at sea.
Zerouali added that Moroccan authorities cracked down on 50 irregular migrant trafficking networks active at both the local and international levels in 2019, “up 63 percent compared with a year earlier.”
The Spanish government expressed satisfaction with the Rabat-Madrid collaboration during several events and symposiums.
In April, Spanish news outlet ABC reported that the Spanish Ministry of the Interior found that the number of irregular migrants in Spain dropped by 52% from April 2018 to April 2019.
ABC added that the significant decline is mainly due to Morocco’s success in dismantling irregular migration networks and the security cooperation and information exchange between Morocco and Spain.
The collaboration has been recently lauded by Spanish Minister of Defense Margarita Robles, who said that her county has “full confidence in the collaboration” with Morocco.
Maintaining strong diplomatic ties, Spain and Morocco reiterated their determination to reinforce their collaboration during several official meetings, especially after the Spanish royal visit to Morocco in mid-February.
In a recent interview, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez emphasized the significance of the ties between his country and Morocco, saying that Morocco is a “special ally” for Spain. “Progress and prosperity in Morocco are determining for stability in the Mediterranean and in Spain,” he said.