Morocco-EU: 500 million euros to block the undocumented 

Morocco will soon receive financial aid of 500 million euros from the European Union (EU). This aid is intended to support Morocco in controlling its borders, according to the Spanish daily El Pais. “Brussels is finalizing an envelope of at least 500 million euros to finance Rabat’s efforts to counter irregular immigration,” the Spanish media reported.

This new financial envelope covers the period 2021-2027, and exceeds by far (almost 50%) the 343 million euros of the total former aid, according to El Pais, which adds that this is part of the growing role of Morocco as a “very important” partner, not only of Spain or France, but of the whole EU. “
This amount gives an idea of the degree of ambition of Brussels, which belies the fears that Spain had that the south of the continent would be neglected.

The agreement has been given and the grant will be made in the fall, according to the same source. The expenditure of this amount will be divided into different items. It will cover, among other things, integration and protection projects for refugees living in Morocco, as well as forced returns, police cooperation and the fight against mafia networks, according to sources close to the matter.

Note that Morocco will not be the only beneficiary of European funding. Indeed, the EU plans to have action plans in the field of migration with all North African countries, except Algeria, the same source said. The funding that will go to the rest of the countries involved in the control of irregular migration to Europe includes the main African partners of Spain, namely Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania.

The negotiation of this grant of around 500 million with Rabat lasted for many months, as Morocco maintained its expectations and high demands regarding the distribution of European funds, while Brussels wanted a greater commitment than ever from Morocco, especially in the readmission of Moroccans who entered Europe illegally. According to diplomatic sources, the European Commission has made it clear that Morocco should gain importance in the EU Migration Council.

“The agreement was not reached easily”, El Pais reports, adding that the funds were suspended in May 2021, when an influx of 10,000 migrants, including children, entered Sebta. This caused the suspension of this kind of European aid to Morocco. In addition, the Mellilia tragedy of June 24, in which Moroccan law enforcement agencies thwarted a mass crossing attempt by sub-Saharan nationals, could result in additional funding for the Moroccan effort, diplomatic sources in the European Commission indicate.

According to El Pais, Madrid notes that cooperation with Morocco in terms of border security has seen an unprecedented improvement, after Spain’s new positioning in support of the autonomy proposal for the Sahara, stressing that the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries has not yet led to a significant decrease in the arrival of immigrants. However, various sources in Spanish border security assure that the efficiency of the Moroccan police is keeping a large number of departures from Morocco at bay.

Moreover, since Algeria broke its friendship and trade ties with Spain, due to its new proximity to Morocco, the number of immigrants from the Algerian coast to the Balearic Islands is increasing. This constitutes a violation of Algiers’ commitments with the European Union, which, according to El Pais, merits a severe reproach from the Commission to the Algerian government.

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