Morocco migration chief: ‘EU financial aid below our needs”

The Moroccan chief of migration, Khalid Zerouali, affirms that the 500 million euros aid given in seven years by the EU to Morocco to fight against irregular migration “is below” what the North African country need and does not cover its expenses.”

Speaking in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE said “in the framework of good cooperation and good neighborliness and shared responsibility, we consider that what was allocated is below what we want.”

The 300 million euros of financial support and 200 million more of technical support that the EU granted to Morocco for the period 2021-2027 are “well below what we spend, which is estimated at 427 million euros a year.

However, Zerouali affirms that his country does not make financial aid a condition to maintain its efforts on migration: “Europe is a strategic partner, we are not monetizing the migration issue. We are a responsible State, whether there is assistance or not, Morocco will continue doing what you have to do.”

The financial support from Brussels, which became known last month, represents an increase of almost 50% more than the 346 million that Morocco had received in the previous budget package (2014-2020).

he new Morocco-Spain cooperation led to a noticeable decrease of irregular migration, which dropped to 10% compared to last year.

Following the end of the diplomatic crisis between Rabat and Madrid due to Spain’s change of position on the Sahara matter, both countries agreed to establish urgent partnerships in several fields including the security aspect in the borders with the Canary Islands.

The islands witnessed an entry of 10,637 irregular migrants last month, almost 1,400 more than last year’s number, a trend that differs from the general balance that shows a reduction of 10% and only few peaks of arrivals.

However, this flow is very different from the ones recorded in the same period between 2021 and 2020, when the spike in arrivals in the Canary Islands increased by 115%, according to the balance sheets of the Ministry of the Interior. The islands’ population went from 4,000 people to more than 9,200 and continued to rise.

Although it will take some time to confirm the trend, the latest figures reflect a slight decrease in the number of ships arriving in port despite a slight increase in numbers, indicating that the usual departure times for this time of year have decreased.

Most arrivals are concentrated in the first three months of the year and have moderated since the end of March, according to expert sources.

The interior ministry did not provide specific figures on the origin of those rescued, but official sources say the arrival of Moroccans, by far the majority, especially during the pandemic, has decreased significantly.

Most migrants thrown in the Atlantic are from sub-Saharan countries, which have been retained from previous years’ statistics. The number of women remained at around 30%, one of the most significant changes noticed since last year.
Most ships are arriving in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, noted the experts, while those rescued were near Gran Canaria, which is their main target so far.

The rescue operations followed the increased police inspections on the Moroccan Sahara coast. The decrease in the number of departures from Dakhla and other south Moroccan cities were also significant, according to the same source.

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