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Morocco’s unaccompanied minors divide Melilla and Spain

On May the 26th, the 2019 local elections will take place in Spain. The ruling party in Melilla is focusing on the issue of Morocco’s unaccompanied minors, which divides Juan Jose Imbroda and the Spanish Interior Minister.

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Melilla's President Juan Jose Imbroda./Ph. DR

On Saturday, March the 3rd, the Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska visited Melilla. In the autonomous city, the Minister was expected to answer the questions of President Juan Jose Imbroda on Morocco’s unaccompanied minors.

The topic is dubbed important by the ruling party in Melilla and Ceuta, especially as the two cities will be home to the 2019 local elections in May.

Imbroda said that Melilla can only receive 300 minors, stressing that the 700 others will have to be expelled, immediately, to Morocco or taken to the Iberian Peninsula. The politician suggests that these Moroccan minors, aged between 16 and 17 years old, should be considered as «economic migrants». This solution was highly rejected by the Spanish Interior Minister.

«In the government, we do not like exceptional measures. A minor is a minor. We cannot give up on our values», said the Minister, adding that «one of these values is respecting minors who need international protection».

«A joint working group to examine the issue»

The Spanish Interior Minister said during a press briefing that «a working group composed of officials from both countries will be examining the number of minors who are not integrated in Spain and which Morocco is willing to receive».

«We need to establish a series of protocols between Spain and Morocco (…) because the North African Kingdom is the first party to benefit from taking back its children and granting them protection within their families or through their families. Obviously, these are its children and it does not appreciate this deracination».

Spain's Interior Minister

The Minister’s words, however, did not reassure the president of Melilla. The Minister believes that returning these minors to Morocco is «a possible measure which must be conducted in a progressive way».

«We will have to wait for a month and a half, time for us to see what Morocco is planning to do. This is the best solution that we have always defended», reports Europa Press quoting Marlaska.

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