The Spanish-controlled Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco are receiving an unprecedented influx of irregular migrants.
Rabat – The Spanish government is reportedly planning to deliver 130 vehicles to Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior to help improve the country’s efforts against irregular migration.
El Faro de Ceuta reported on Wednesday that Morocco is set to receive 13 grid vehicles to reinforce border and migration control at a time when the Spanish-controlled Canary Islands off the southern Moroccan coast “are experiencing their worst migration crisis since 2006.”
More than 2,200 migrants arrived in the Canaries over the weekend, far exceeding the islands’ reception capacity. This year, more than 11,000 people have arrived in the Canaries by sea, with half reaching the islands in October alone.
Amid the migration crisis in the Atlantic, Spain will also operate a vehicle maintenance training service in Morocco with a contract worth €7,150,000 without value-added tax.
The vehicles Morocco is set to receive include water tanker trucks, refrigerated trucks, gasoline tanker trucks, and pick-up vehicles.
The Spanish news outlet quoted the International Foundation as saying that the shipment is part of the European country’s “Support project for integrated border and migration management in Morocco,” which began in April 2019.
The reported shipment of border control equipment to Morocco from Spain is not the first of its kind. On August 12, Maaga Hoy reported that the surge of African migrants in Spain urged the European country to supply Morocco with several types of equipment, including vehicles, 15 drones, and radars to improve migration control.
Morocco-Spain cooperation against irregular migration
The shipment is part of the cooperation linking the two countries in the fight against irregular migration.
Spain is among the countries that enjoy strong cooperation with Morocco in various fields. Last year, Spain approved €32 million to back Morocco’s efforts to curb irregular migration. The Spanish government approved in July 2020 another grant of €26 million.
Spain also represents a voice for Morocco within the European Union, emphasizing the North African country’s pivotal role in reducing the number of migrants that reach Spanish shores.
Spain called on the EU to assist Morocco’s efforts against irregular migration. In response, the EU approved a €140 million grant to Morocco in 2019.
Khalid Zerouali, the director of immigration and border surveillance at the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior, said “the €140 million is a start; it will not fix the problem, but it is a welcome gesture.”
In an interview with Eldiario.es, the official reiterated the importance of shared responsibility to solve the issue of migration, saying that Morocco intends to work bilaterally with Spain and other European powers in a long-term program against undocumented migration.
In 2019, Morocco aborted 74,000 irregular migration attempts. This year, Morocco has continued to carry out a series of security operations to clamp down on undocumented migration, arresting dozens of suspects involved in local and international networks organizing irregular migration.