Spain urges EU to increase the financial aid allocated to Morocco to curb migration flows

In a new attempt to help Morocco curb migration flows, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that his country has urged the EU to increase financial aid granted to Rabat. This request comes as the Kingdom said it has managed to decrease migrant arrivals in Spain.

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Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Josep Borrell said on an official visit to Morocco that his country has urged the European Union to increase the financial aid allocated to Rabat to manage migration flows, Reuters reported Monday.

In a press conference held Monday in Rabat, Borrel told reporters that «Morocco is helping us», referring to Spain and the EU. The minister explained that the help provided by Morocco shouldn’t be considered as a gift, stressing that aid granted to the Kingdom must be increased.

For the record, Morocco had received 30 million euros from the 140 million euros promised by the European Union for the country to manage its borders and decrease migration flows.

An annual fund for Morocco

Borrell’s announcement comes after two senior officials from the Spanish Interior Ministry forwarded a similar 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.

Curbing migrant arrivals to Europe

Morocco has managed to lower the rate of illegal migration into Spain in the last couple of months, according to numbers made public by the Kingdom’s migration and border control chief Khalid Zerouali in May.

Zerouali said that after January, a month during which most of illegal migration crossings took place, the rate of arrivals in Spain through Morocco dwindled significantly.

The government's efforts were behind this decline, Zerouali said, adding that Morocco succeeded in preventing 25,000 illegal crossings so far. 

In March, similar trends were communicated by American news agency Associated Press (AP), which reported that Spain has managed to stop an overwhelming surge in illegal immigration after joining efforts with Morocco.

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.

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