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Migration : Spain demands annual EU aid for Morocco

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Migrants in Gibraltar. / Ph. Associated Press

Spain has urged again the European Union to support Morocco in its fight against irregular migration networks. Two senior officials from the Spanish Interior Ministry forwarded this request to the Deputy Director-General for Migration in the European Commission Simon Mordue during his visit to Madrid on May 10, El Pais reveals.

The daily reports that Spanish officials have demanded that Brussels grant a «fund», on an annual basis, to Morocco. This request joins an «initiative» that has been addressed before by the EU.

«European sources have mentioned a 50-million-euro grant» in favor of Morocco. However, Spain wants this plan to be implemented soon «so that Rabat can control the Moroccan coast».

The two officials also asked Simon Mordue to pay «as soon as possible» the 140 million euros promised to Morocco six months ago.

The daily said that since the visit of King Felipe VI to Morocco in February, the country has been committed to curbing number of migrant arrivals in Spain.

Quoting an internal European Union report, AP revealed that sea arrivals dropped in February, indicating that the country’s «intensified efforts to stop the migrants before they're able to reach European waters are paying off».

«In the last four months, the increased cooperation between Spanish and Moroccan authorities has significantly contributed to decrease the illegal migratory flows towards Spain», wrote AP, quoting the report which was handed to EU member nations in March.

According to the same source, the EU document did not explain how Morocco «held back migrants».

Speaking to the American news agency, the EU office dealing with relations with neighboring countries said that the European Union «has spent 232 million euros ($262 million) on migration-related projects with Morocco since 2014, mostly in border control and fighting smugglers», which included the 140 million-euro border management package granted to Rabat last year.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Interior Ministry told the same source in a written response that cooperation with Morocco helped decrease the number of migrant arrivals in Spain. The Ministry also said that Spain has given 75 vehicles to Moroccan authorities to control its borders.

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