MADRID – José Luis Escrivá, Spain’s Migration Minister, has announced that the government is making €50 million available for the Canary Islands towards the management of the approximately 4,000 migrant minors under the supervision of the local government.
During an official visit to El Hierro, the Canarian island that has been at the centre of the migration crisis in recent months, Escrivá clarified that the money will be allocated through an agreement in the next Council of Ministers.
Call for solidarity for migration management of minors
Escrivá also appealed for solidarity between the autonomous communities. He specifically mentioned Madrid, which with a population of eight million people has only offered to host 30 migrants. He stressed that autonomous communities that agree to host migrant minors will do so with funding from the state. Moreover, this will be without any financial burden on their own budgets. The minister called for a “much greater effort” and avoiding “confrontational and incoherent discussions”.
Complex situation in Canary Islands
Escrivá acknowledged that the situation surrounding the reception of migrants in the Canary Islands is “very difficult”. There are plans to improve some facilities on El Hierro. This includes the coastal shelters of the Social Institute of the Navy. Furthermore, €9 million will be invested in the Echedo centre in the north of Valverde bringing it back into use.
Need for multidisciplinary approach
When asked about a single command to manage the crisis, Escrivá suggested that a multidisciplinary approach is needed. This coordination will be carried out through the Ministry of the Presidency. The minister did not rule out the possibility of future investments, in addition to the already promised €50 million for minors and the €9 million for the Echedo centre.
Response from the regional president
Fernando Clavijo, the President of the Canary Islands, emphasised the need for cooperation and coordination between different administrations to face the crisis, rather than confrontation or demagogic discourses. He called for a joint effort by all administrations to provide dignified shelter. Clavijo has also called on the European Union to activate an extraordinary civil protection mechanism.
“Europe cannot look the other way and leave El Hierro, the Canary Islands and Spain alone in this situation,” Clavijo said. He stressed that as long as GDP per capita in Africa is only 10% of that in the European Union, people will look for a life elsewhere.