Frontex’s executive director also recalled the importance of the strategic partnership between the EU and Morocco.
Rabat – Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) said that Morocco is making “considerable” efforts to fight against irregular migration.
Allegri told the press on Tuesday, June 25, in Rabat that Morocco is an “important and strategic partner for the EU, which has been ensuring stability at the borders.
Leggri was in Rabat for a meeting with Minister delegate for the Interior, Noureddine Boutayeb, and director of migration and border surveillance at the Interior Ministry, Khalid Zerouali.
Leggri said that hosting the African observatory for Migration and Development in Morocco is a tangible proof of the very important responsibilities it carries out at the regional level.
He also spoke about the pressure Morocco is facing due to the “very high financial cost” of fighting irregular migration. He emphasized that he discussed with officials of the Ministry of Interior and concerned parties “the means of developing, ‘in a very practical way,’ co-operation for the mutual benefit of Morocco and the EU,” Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.
In February, a Frontex report said that the number of irregular migrant departures from Morocco had ‘increased fivefold.”
“Most of the migrants taking this route last year came from sub-Saharan countries, but the number of Moroccan nationals also increased significantly,” added Frontex.
The report also acknowledged the pressure faced by both Morocco and Spain due to irregular migration.
“The Western Mediterranean became the most frequently used route into Europe. The pressure on Spain has been rising over recent years, and the number of detections in 2018 reached 57, 034, double the number from 2017.”
The Moroccan government announced in May that Morocco’s security services have thwarted more than 30,000 irregular migration attempts in 2019, compared to 88,761 of foiled attempts in 2018.
The issue of irregular migration urged Morocco and Spain to strengthen their cooperation to fight the issue.
Spain has been supportive of Morocco’s efforts on migration, calling on the European Union repeatedly to help the North African country in the Mediterranean.
Earlier in June, the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, Josep Borrell, described the EU’s financial contribution to Rabat as “insufficient.”
“Spain urged the EU to support Morocco in facing the increased inflow of migrants, especially after the migration pressure shifted from the east to the west of the Mediterranean,” he said during his visit to Morocco earlier this month.
Borell made his statement during a joint press conference with Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita.