Spain is perhaps Morocco’s most vocal advocate in the European Union.
Rabat – The Spanish government has asked the European Union to increase the funding it grants to Morocco to help the kingdom in its fight against irregular migration.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez spoke about the pressure faced by Morocco to combat irregular migration in a joint press conference with the president of the elected European Council, Charles Michel, in Madrid on Thursday, November 14
Morocco “must be endowed with sufficient resources to deal with illegal immigration,” said the prime minister, quoted in Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
In August Spain approved a €32 million grant to back Morocco’s border control initiatives. The fund is in addition to the €140 million that the EU pledged as part of a program to support Morocco’s efforts to control the flow of undocumented migrants.
The Spanish official recalled that Morocco has helped Spain to reduce the number of irregular migrants arriving in Spain by more than 50%.
The European country reduced the “arrivals of undocumented migrants arriving by sea in Spain between January 1 and October 30 by more than 53% compared to a year earlier,” according to the Spanish Ministry of Interior.
A total of 22,247 irregular migrants reached Spain by the sea in makeshift boats as of October 30, down from 47,684 migrants during the same period in 2018, the ministry added.
About 1,030 boats arrived on the Spanish coast from January to October of 2019, compared to 1,775 boats over the same period last year. The difference constitutes a 42% decrease.
Last week, Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska described Morocco’s contribution to easing the pressure of irregular migration as “real” cooperation.
The minister added, “Now we have more forces, we train them, we give them means and protection and we do investigation work against mafias” involved in human trafficking.