The European Commission is looking for money for Morocco to help the country tame irregular migration into Spain. “We are fully aware of the needs as conveyed by Morocco that require much higher financial effort and we are prepared to deliver this,” EU commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva said. It is not clear how much extra money would be provided by the EU that had last month earmarked €55m for Morocco and Tunisia from its EU Trust Fund for Africa. The EU executive, however, said that the new batch of Moroccan funding “is only the start of a longer term operation” likely to be dispensed in late 2018 and then in 2019.
A big part of the extra budget will be designated for the training and equipment of Moroccan border guards in an attempt to stem the irregular arrivals that Spain is facing. Madrid demanded help following the recent increase in the number of arrivals along its southern coast and in its Ceuta and Melilla enclaves bordering Morocco. This year, more than 23,000 have so far arrived in Spain by sea this year, almost as many as the whole 2017.
Brussels has allotted Spain €25.6 million to help set up reception centers in Ceuta and Melila. Most of the migrants that land in Spain are from sub-Saharan Africa, although many are also Moroccan citizens. The European Commission is in talks for an readmission agreement with Rabat. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday that the EU stood by Spain “side by side” and it would provide additional support. The new funding will be available to Spain when it helps its civil guard officers patrolling the area.