Thursday, May 20, 2021

Spain Experiences Diplomatic Crisis as 8,000 Moroccan Migrants Arrive in Ceuta

Spain is undergoing a tense standoff with Morocco after 8,000 migrants from the North African country landed on the Spanish enclave of Ceuta overnight.

The boats crowded with women, children, and men and many swimming crossed the border between the countries during Monday and Tuesday, and at least 1,500 persons that entered Ceuta are believed to be teenagers, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The Spanish authorities informed that the border crossing began at 2 am on Monday in the border area of Ceuta. The daylight did not stop the crossings either, as entire families together with their children used inflatable boats or swam to get there. The arrivals continued on Tuesday as well but in decreased numbers.

Upon their arrival in Spain, the Moroccan migrants were checked by the healthcare personnel of the Red Cross and then were taken to a reception centre, where they were held into custody.

Moreover, according to the Spanish Government, around 4,800 persons have been returned to Morocco since Tuesday.

The Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez arrived in the city on Tuesday and vowed to restore order back in place.

The migrant flow occurred due to a tense diplomatic standoff between Madrid and Rabat, and suggestions have been made that Moroccan authorities did not do much to prevent the situation.

“There are many witnesses who explained that the police were not there anymore, trying to stop them. And this, of course, has to do with the tension between the Moroccan government and the Spanish government,” Blanca Garcés, a senior researcher at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, asserted.

Regarding the migrants’ issue, an EU official insisted that Europe will not be intimidated. Whereas the EU commissioner for the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said that Europe would not become a victim of these tactics.

“Ceuta is Europe, this border is a European border and what is happening there is not Madrid’s problem, it is the problem of all,” Schinas added.

Brussels has also expressed solidarity with Spain, with the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson making a call to Morocco to stop irregular departures.

The Prime Minister of Spain said that the arrivals of migrants to Spain is a serious crisis for Europe as well, not only for Spain.

In addition, commenting on the situation, the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU stands in solidarity with Spain and that a common EU solution to migration management is needed.

Last month, around 100 Moroccan nationals swam to Ceuta in groups of 20 to 30, but most of them were deported back to Morocco. The migrants tried to reach Ceuta by swimming along the coast or climbing the border fences that separate the two countries.



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