Morocco and Spain put their neighbors to the test with a “collective strategy” to curb clandestine immigration

The diplomatic machinery in Rabat and Madrid is once again moving with its sights set on strengthening the entire region from the flow of waves of clandestine immigration, since a meeting is expected to be held next December to attract other countries to join the approach Moroccan-Spanish.

The step will be a test of the seriousness of the neighboring countries in the management of secret immigration files and the fight against human trafficking networks, especially in the Sahel region, as well as Algeria, which has long refrained from any coordination with the Moroccan authorities on security matters. Immigration aspects and issues.

The Foreign Ministers of Morocco and Spain announced from New York that Rabat and Madrid intend to coordinate efforts during an upcoming meeting in December, with the aim of attracting other countries to join the Moroccan-Spanish approach on the issue of migration and the fight against human trafficking networks.

Many countries are concerned about exporting migratory waves or considering them as a transit stage before reaching Morocco and the borders adjacent to the “European Paradise”, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, Algeria, Libya and Sudan; However, to date, no additional details have been released other than the meeting announcement.

The Moroccan and Spanish authorities face great challenges with the multiplicity of “Harik” destinations when moving to Ceuta and Melilla, as well as the waters of the Atlantic Ocean that lead to the Canary Islands, in addition to maintaining transit points through the Mediterranean .

Nabil Al-Andalusi, professor and researcher in international relations, considered that Moroccan-Spanish coordination and cooperation in the field of immigration management and the fight against human trafficking networks have been strongly reinforced in recent times , especially after the improvement of diplomatic relations between the two countries after the Spanish recognition of the autonomy initiative and its support for the Moroccan proposal.

Andalusi considered that the topic of immigration is of importance for the Spanish part, and the countries of the European Union in general; This is a file that cannot be addressed effectively without the cooperation of the Moroccan side, as previously confirmed by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Alparis, who considered that “the issue of immigration cannot be managed without the help from Morocco.

The professor, a researcher in international relations, has pointed out that, given the importance of the migratory issue for the Moroccan and Spanish sides, the “Moroccan-Spanish Permanent Joint Group on Migration” was activated to coordinate and exchange information and experiences to face the challenges that raises the growing number of people who want to migrate from Africa to Europe, especially in light of the growing number of people who want to migrate from Africa to Europe, and the expansion of areas of conflict and tension and the problems of poverty and unemployment.

In the same context, the rapporteur believes that Morocco adopts a comprehensive, humane and integrated approach in dealing with this problem, which requires the European side to increase the support provided to Morocco, to help it manage the problems raised by this file.

Andalusi stressed that Morocco knew how to win the trust of Europeans and recognize the role it plays in dealing with this phenomenon that worries the Spanish and the European Union as a whole, and that Morocco has made significant efforts to deal with the network of migrant smuggling.

During the year 2021 alone, it managed to thwart 63,121 illegal and irregular migration attempts, dismantle 256 criminal migrant smuggling networks, as well as rescue 14,236 migrants, according to official statistics.

The professor, a researcher in international relations, highlighted that all the countries of North Africa are directly affected by this phenomenon, and added: “In addition to Morocco, we find the countries of Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia and Libya; This requires a regional approach and coordination to address it”, recalling that during the year 2021, for example, Algeria experienced the highest proportion of irregular migration and illegal immigrants to Spain. Some reports have specified that this percentage exceeded 70 percent.

According to the estimates of the same spokesman, Algeria will not participate in any Moroccan-Spanish rapprochement, due to the tense relations between it and the two countries involved. Therefore, it is difficult to speak or expect Algerian cooperation at this level in light of current relations and data.

For his part, Abdelilah El-Khoudari, head of the Moroccan Center for Human Rights, affirmed that the areas of origin of clandestine migrations began to change, since the last four years; Move from the northern coasts along the Mediterranean to the Atlantic coasts, due to the tightening of control at the level of the northern ports.

Al-Khudari considered that navigating the Atlantic Ocean involves unimaginable risks, either because of the distance and the impossibility of supplying enough gasoline to the engines and the necessary nutrition, or because of the difficulty of determining the course within international waters, which exceeds with you grow up to those on the other side of the ocean. Mediterranean, and added: “Many of these migrants seek to navigate the coasts of the province of Tarfaya to migrate to Las Palmas.”