EU aid to fight irregular immigration is ‘insufficient’

Khaled Zerouali, Wali Director of Immigration and Border Control at the Ministry of the Interior, said that the assistance provided by the European Union to Morocco to combat irregular immigration, amounting to 500 million euros over seven years, is not enough to cover the state spending. amounting to 427 million euros per year.

Zerouali added, in an interview with the Spanish news agency “EFE”: “Within the framework of good cooperation, good neighborliness and co-responsibility, we consider that what has been allocated in this framework is less than what is required.”

The same official highlighted that 300 million euros of economic support, in addition to the 200 million of technical support granted by the European Union to Morocco for the period 2021-2027, is much less than what the Moroccan State spends, which is estimated at 427 million euros each year.

Zerouali clarified that Morocco does not make financial assistance a condition for continuing efforts to combat migration, stressing that “Europe is a strategic partner and we are not monetizing the issue of migration. We are a responsible country, whether there is aid or not, Morocco will continue to do what needs to be done”.

In the same interview, Zerouali denied the accusations against Morocco for having used immigration as a weapon to pressure the European Union during the events in Ceuta in May last year.

He added that “Morocco is a responsible country, and has always shown its willingness in all regional and international spheres to share its experiences with friendly countries”, and pointed out that “Morocco does not exploit anything for political reasons, and what has been accused of of is unfounded.”

Regarding Morocco’s fight against immigration, Zerouali said: “Moroccan security forces have aborted 40,600 attempts to emigrate to Europe, an increase of 11% compared to 2021, and have rescued almost 7,000 immigrants who tried to cross through sea, while dismantling 124 immigrants. smuggling networks.

The spokesman stressed that this effort made by Morocco has yielded decisive results, compensated by a decrease in the number of arrivals on Spanish coasts, despite the fact that the pressure of immigrants on Morocco continues.

Regarding the recent events in Melilla, in which 23 people were killed during an attempt by some 2,000 migrants to break through the border fence of the occupied city, Zerouali said: “The Moroccan security forces acted in accordance with what must be done in this case”.

He continued: “Every time an event occurs, we draw lessons from it, but on that day the security forces acted according to the state of law enforcement, and during that time they encountered people who are well versed in combat and who received training in hotspots, and they were not immigrants like the ones we are used to.”