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Spain will give Morocco €30 million to curb irregular immigration

Diario- María Martín 19/07/2019
The funding is on top of the €140 million the EU has pledged to provide the North African country
 

Spain"s acting government will approve a €30 million outlay to fund Morocco"s efforts at curbing irregular immigration into Europe.

This direct injection of funds is in addition to the €140 million that the European Union has pledged to give the North African country to help it contain migration flows. Renewed relations with Morocco have played a role in this year"s nearly 27% drop in irregular immigration to July 15, according to Interior Ministry figures.

The new allocation of funds must first be approved by the Cabinet today. The money will come from the Budget Contingency Fund, which is normally used for unexpected expenses derived from natural disasters and to fund military operations abroad.

In this case, the money will cover part of "the costs incurred by Moroccan authorities in their cooperation with Spain and the entire EU on border management and the fight against irregular immigration headed for the Spanish coast," according to the document justifying the additional budgetary expense.

Less than two weeks ago, the Spanish Cabinet also approved a €26 million public tender to purchase equipment and donate it to Morocco. This material includes 750 vehicles, 15 drones, dozens of scanners, radars and other technical equipment for border control. This outlay is included in the €140 million deal negotiated with the EU, part of which Spain is managing.

For a year now, Spain and the EU have been seeking ways of providing economic support to Morocco, which has been compared to Libya and Turkey, two countries that receive funds from Europe to combat migration flows.

Morocco maintains in public that its efforts are "unilateral" and are motivated by a sense "of responsibility." "Morocco has never made funding a preliminary requisite," said that country"s head of border control and migration, Khalid Zerouali, in a recent interview with EL PAÍS.

Zerouali also said that the EU"s €140 million is "a good start" and suggested that future talks with Brussels will determine the compensation that Morocco deems appropriate.

Spain has been sending money and equipment to irregular migrants" countries of origin since 2006, the year that thousands of African migrants began landing on the coast of the Canary Islands on makeshift boats. At that time, Mauritania and Senegal were the departure points for the majority of migrants. The strategy was considered a success, as those routes were almost completely closed off.

English version by Susana Urra.