In January, Spanish NGO Salvamento Maritimo shared statistics showing the Spanish-Moroccan collaboration had reduced undocumented migration by more than half.
Addressing the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Madrid, she emphasized the reduction in the flow of undocumented migrants entering Spain is a result of collaboration, particularly with Morocco.
The Spanish FM stressed the importance of collaboration and a “comprehensive strategy” to cut the numbers of irregular migrants entering Europe via Spain, emphasizing that it is a question of security. The southern Mediterranean is of key importance to the stability of Spain and the EU, Gonzalez said.
“For Spain, the relationship with the southern shore of the Mediterranean is of paramount importance,” the minister began.”Promoting integration and strengthening economic ties, including investment and trade with the Arab world” is vital for Spain, she added.
The FM also surveyed Spain’s foreign policy towards the Mediterranean and the Arab world, affirming her country’s commitment to continue promoting the opportunities offered by the region and contributing to democratic progress, said the ministry in a statement.
Morocco and Spain share strong diplomatic relations and regularly collaborate in the struggle to curb undocumented migration as well as counterterrorism.
In January, Spanish news outlet El Pais reported that Morocco had helped its European neighbor reduce the number of irregular migrants arriving on its coast by more than half.
Spanish NGO Salvamento Maritimo praised Morocco’s efforts to clamp down on maritime migration attempts.
“Morocco is cooperating more than ever in recent years,” the NGO said, as quoted in El Pais.
According to the NGO, Spanish emergency services rescued only 11 migrant boats in 2019.
Spain rescued 669 people during the operations, a 4% decrease in migrants compared to 2018.
Meanwhile, El Pais recalled that Morocco rescued over 8,000 migrants in the same year.
In line with its strong relations with Morocco, Spain regularly advocates for Morocco at the European Parliament, calling on the EU to support Rabat’s efforts in the field of irregular migration.
In November 2019, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked the EU to increase the funding it grants to Morocco to help Europe control irregular migration.
Morocco “must be endowed with sufficient resources to deal with illegal immigration,” said the Spanish PM.
The EU granted Morocco €101.7 million in December 2019. The fund aims to prevent would-be migrants from risking their lives at sea.
The fund is part of the €147.7 million that the EU earmarked for the Emergency Trust Fund. The fund is designed to help African countries combat undocumented migration and human trafficking, protect vulnerable people, and increase economic development in North Africa.