The European Union will increase to 500 million the European funds it allocates to Morocco for cooperation on migration until 2027, EU sources have informed Europa Press.
European diplomacy is negotiating priorities in the relationship with the North African country and the first budget estimates point to an increase in the planned allocation until 2027 to ensure border management, understanding that Morocco has become one of the key actors to curb the passage of illegal migration to Europe.
These more than 500 million will be allocated to the protection of migrants, border management and to combat human trafficking, say the sources consulted. This allocation represents a significant increase in aid to Morocco, which received 346 million under the previous EU budget.
For the EU, Morocco is a “strategic and committed” partner with which the European bloc has been cooperating for several years on migration issues, recalls an EU spokeswoman, who frames these new funds in the framework of the operational partnership against human trafficking to tackle human trafficking, which will include measures of “support for border management, reinforced police cooperation, including joint investigations, awareness-raising on the dangers of irregular migration and reinforced cooperation with EU agencies working in the field of home affairs.”
The need to increase European funds to achieve “orderly and fair” migration from African countries was precisely expressed by Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska at the last meeting of European interior ministers in Prague. “They need regular, predictable and substantial assistance, which so far has been insufficient,” he said.
The Spanish minister also called for “raising the political profile” with greater dialogue with the countries of origin of migration, citing as an example the visit to Rabat with the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, to meet with the Moroccan authorities.
In fact, Rabat is one of the main beneficiaries of European funds with neighboring countries for migration management and until now was after Libya, the second North African country to benefit from more funds.
Apart from migration allocations, Morocco receives other funds in terms of budget support and regional cooperation, in line with the special relations that Brussels maintains with the group of neighboring countries in Europe and the Mediterranean.
In recent years, episodes of mass arrivals of migrants in Spain, several of them with Morocco at the center of the crisis, has forced Brussels to act. In May 2021, Ceuta experienced a massive influx of more than 8,000 migrants, many of them minors, thanks to the connivance of Moroccan security forces, who did not try to prevent the passage, in the midst of the diplomatic crisis between Morocco and Spain.
The situation at the border again raised concerns in the EU capital before the summer after the death of dozens of migrants while trying to cross into the autonomous city of Melilla.
Earlier, at the end of 2020, the EU allocated additional funds to deal with the massive arrival of migrants and the overcrowding experienced in the port of Arguineguín, in the Canary Islands, in November 2020.