IRREGULAR migration to Spanish coasts has fallen by 39% after the EU and Spain granted €170m to Moroccan authorities in a bid to boost that country’s security forces.
Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez won a €140 million pledge from Brussels, to which his government added €30 million, in a bid to clamp down on migration via the so-called Western Mediterranean route.
It comes as Spain became the largest destination for migrants after Italy closed its ports last year, with 65,000 arriving entering Spain without papers in 2018.
Pedro Sanchez’s government then pledged to cut illegal immigration by half before the end of 2019.
The efforts appear to be bearing fruit, as the numbers of irregular migrants reaching peninsular Spain fell 39% to 18,018 people arriving without papers this year between January-August.
The combined funding has particularly helped the Moroccan Royal Navy assist Spanish operations in returning migrants to their point of departure.
According to El Pais, however, an internal report from the EU warns that these measures have had a negative impact on migrants’ safety.
“Migrants are increasingly departing from the western coast of Morocco (leading) to more accidents and more scams by the smuggling networks,” the report said.
The IOM (International Organisation for Migration) estimates that 208 people have already perished this year, representing roughly 1% of those risking the journey.
Earlier this month, IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska confirmed that despite over 3,000 irregular migrants entering Spain by sea in September this year, it is less than half the figure of 8,000 that landed in September 2018.