Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez described irregular migration as a challenge that will increase with COVID-19.
Rabat – Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez renewed concerns regarding the pressure Morocco continues to face due to irregular migration issues.
During a press conference at the G20 Summit on Sunday, Sanchez said Morocco and other transit countries are under migratory pressure from sub-Saharan Africa.
Recalling the recent visit to Morocco of Spanish Minister of Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Sanchez said Spain operates as a regional migration police force, engaging in dialogue with countries of origin and transit.
The interior minister visited Morocco last week and held a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart Abdelouafi Laftit on November 20.
The meeting served as an opportunity to discuss the issue of irregular migration, which continues to be among Morocco’s priorities to tackle.
During his visit, the Spanish minister congratulated Morocco and Spain for the cooperation they have in several fields, including migration.
The official said Spain and Morocco discussed measures to address migration challenges in the region, recalling important success in the fight against undocumented migration.
Morocco’s Ambassador to Spain Karima Benyaich recently expressed the same sentiment, saying that the Spanish government was able to block 60% of irregular migration arrivals in recent years thanks to Morocco’s cooperation.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said sub-Saharan Africa is feeling the impact of COVID-19 in terms of declining tourism, economic activity, and migrant remittances.
In these difficult circumstances, “Spain will not allow the irregular trafficking of human beings and will face this challenge,” Sanchez said.
He described the irregular migration as an ongoing challenge that heightens with COVID-19.
Spain regularly advocates for Morocco in the EU, calling on the international community to assist Rabat to curb irregular migration between Africa and Europe.
The Spanish government has been also urging the EU to increase funds for Morocco.
Moroccan officials continue to emphasize that the migratory approach in the country is based on a humanitarian strategy.
“Our security action is not against migrants because we believe they are victims” of networks that exploit their vulnerability,” the director of immigration and border surveillance at the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior, Khalid Zerouali, said.
Last year, Morocco aborted 74,000 irregular migration attempts.
In 2020, Morocco’s security services carried out numerous operations, arresting dozens of suspects involved in irregular migration networks.