NEWS: Minister González Laya of Foreign Affairs has asked the European Commission in a letter for multidisciplinary support for the migrant crisis in the Canary Islands. Last year, more than 20 thousand African migrants without papers arrived there. Spain asks to be involved in the development of a new European migration policy.
The pressure of the migrant crisis on the Canary Islands has become so high that the Spanish government is raising the alarm and demanding resources from the EU be made available to stop the flow of migrants from African countries.
The migrant crisis in Spain is spiraling out of control. The xenophobic reports on social media are unstoppable. As a result, the authorities are no longer able to handle the situation in the Canary Islands. The Spanish government has requested the urgent help of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borell, EU Vice-President Margaritis Shinas, and three other Commissioners.
Migration fund from 2015 is exhausted
In an eight-page document, the Spanish Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Migration express their deep concern about the situation. Furthermore, they understand the difficulties faced in the countries of origin of the migrants and their transit to Europe. The document goes on to explain that funds released after the 2015 Valletta migration summit have been exhausted. At this summit, European and African leaders gathered to strengthen cooperation and discuss migration issues. In 2015, a fund of 5 billion euros was made available to combat migration from African countries.
Spain wants additional funding for a multidisciplinary strategy to tackle migration from Africa. This also calls for the tightening of the security capacity in the countries of origin, economic diplomacy, and bilateral relations. This is evident from documents to which the newspaper El País had access.
Reform of the EU asylum system
Ultimately, Spain wants to reduce the number of undocumented African migrants coming to the Canary Islands. However, the Spanish government is also keen to have a say in the reform of the EU asylum system. The debate on this reform will take place in the coming months. Spain’s demand is clear: in addition to a new integrated strategy, a fund must be put on the table to solve the migration problem. Furthermore, Spain is demanding that the EU devote more attention to the mutual relationship of the joint member states with the African countries.
Free up EU migration policy fund
Minister González Laya hopes that countries such as Portugal, Italy, France, and Germany will support the document sent to the European Commission. The European budget for the period 2021-2027 intended for international cooperation is 86 billion euros. 10% of this is reserved for migration policy. In the letter, Spain asked for this amount to be released as soon as possible. Spain also expressed its willingness to supplement this migration fund.
Spain EU country with largest migrant flow
In 2018, a record 57,500 undocumented migrants reached Spanish territory. This made Spain the EU country with the largest flow of migrants. The EU Migration Fund was then used to allow Rabat to strengthen coastal controls. The number of migrant boats halved in 2019 but rose sharply again last year via the Atlantic Ocean route.
Spain has a close relationship with Mauritania, Senegal, and The Gambia, where millions of euros go to help strengthen national security services and humanitarian aid. Morocco was added in 2019, to which a further fund of 32 million euros was issued to counter the illegal flow of migrants via the Strait of Gibraltar.