According to the Minister of the Interior, this policy based on prevention works.
He stressed the “total disposition” of his country to collaborate to establish a common European framework in matters of immigration and asylum.
Grande-Marlaska said his government has always favored a consensual and cooperative migration policy within the European Union (EU).
According to him, one of the priorities of this common European framework must be addressing the external matters related to immigration, with closer ties to third countries. As such, he underscored that it was necessary to establish a partnership with the countries of origin and transit.
He argued that a common European framework must also take into consideration the need to return to a Schengen area free from all border control.
In addition, Grande-Marlaska stressed the need to “go beyond the principle of responsibility of the country of first entry” to promote that of the equitable sharing of solidarity between member states, which is one of the founding principles of the EU.
Morocco and Spain had pledged to cooperate more closely to curb illegal migration, since the issue has been fuelling the growth of populist politics in Europe. The Spanish government also claimed that migrant arrivals in mainland Spain had halved from 2018.
In 2019, the Spanish government also announced a 45 percent drop in migrant arrivals to mainland Spain in the previous year, but Grande-Marlaska added at the time that Spain’s Canary Islands had seen a 23 percent rise in arrivals in 2018.
Reuters reported that Spain also indicated a willingness to cooperate with West African states such as Senegal and Mauritania to curb clandestine flows of migrants
Figures released by the International Organization for Migration show that 14 969 people arrived in Spain by sea from January 1 to August 28 in 2019, compared to 28 579 in the same period in the previous year.
Moroccan authorities have stopped 57 000 migrants from illegally crossing to Spain by September 2019, Moroccan government spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi told Reuters.
Last year, Spain’s acting government approved €30 million to fund Morocco’s efforts at curbing irregular immigration into Europe. This was in addition to the €140 million already pledged by the European Union to contain migration flows.
A €26 million public tender to purchase equipment and donate it to Morocco, was approved by the Spanish government. This material included 750 vehicles, 15 drones, dozens of scanners, radars and other technical equipment for border control as part of the EU funding effort.
Spain has been funding African countries to stem migration since 2006, the year in which thousands of African migrants began landing on the coast of the Canary Islands.