The EU closes ranks with Morocco and will not review its migration policy despite the massacre in Melilla

Morocco It is one of the preferred partners of the EU. Its role as a stopper for immigration in the south, its strong commercial ties and its role in the exploitation of the resources of the Occidental Sahara have raised the country from Mohammed VI as one of the untouchables in the community bubble. And this line has been maintained by Brussels after last week’s tragedy in Melilla, when dozens of people died asphyxiated, crushed and hundreds of them were beaten with batons and stones at the gates of the EU.

The European Commission has indicated that the priority is to clarify the facts through investigations carried out in Madrid Y Rabat, but has refused to take part and take an active role in launching independent investigations. Nor do they appear in the plans of the Community Executive to review the funds that it allocates to Morocco in migratory matters, despite the evidence of human rights violations by its security forces, as revealed by the exclusive images of Public.

The European response was radically different during the Melilla crisis, where Rabat was singled out and held directly responsible for driving thousands of people onto Spanish soil. The Community Executive even threatened to cut off the funds and after a diplomatic crisis the Brussels-Madrid-Rabat tripartite relationship returned to its waters.

“Morocco is a key strategic ally for the EU in the control of migration and in the fight against mafias. Migration and mobility play an important role in relations between the two, something that has been strengthened in recent decades. contribution to manage irregular routes has been essential. The EU strongly supports Morocco in terms of irregular immigration and border control”, explain sources from the European Comission a Public.

In the last 15 years, Morocco has received more than 13,000 million euros from European funds

In the last 15 years, Morocco has received more than €13 billion from European funds. It is currently the second non-EU country, only behind Turkey, that receives the most money for immigration control: €346 million. “We must remember that migratory control is financed by Europe. We pay for that militarization of borders that generates deaths and injuries,” denounces United Left MEP Sira Rego in a telephone conversation with this newspaper.

Rego has been the promoter of two letters, one to the European Commission and another to the European Ombudsman, demanding an investigation by the European institutions that clarifies the responsibilities in the face of “a clear violation of the fundamental rights of migrants and of the most basic asylum and refugee procedures in the EU”. It is not enough, she assures, to regret.

Both International Law and the acquis communautaire collect the human right of every person to request international protection and seek refuge when their life is in danger or whose fundamental rights are threatened for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or belonging to a certain group. Social. But in Melilla this right is diluted by a tangible physical issue: there is a fence that makes it impossible to follow a procedure through the legal and regular channels that the European Commission demands.

In fact, it is unknown how many of the more than 2,000 people who tried crossing the fence last Friday met the refugee conditions and intended to apply for asylum. “What has happened challenges the European institutions because it is still the reflection of a migration policy based on the externalization of borders with partners that do not respect human rights,” says Rego.

Prioritize agreements with third parties

Brussels’ line in the face of the tragedy in the autonomous city is to trust the national investigations of Spain and Morocco. “violence and loss of lives at European borders is unacceptable. It is crucial that the facts are clarified through a thorough investigation. The priority is that these tragic events are not repeated in the future,” the sources consulted point out.

And the strategy was already marked by the Swedish ylva johansson, Commissioner for the Interior, this week in a speech at the European Parliament. Deaths at the gates of Europe are “unacceptable”, but so is “the use of violence” to access community land. The priority, according to the head of migration matters, who is also a Social Democrat, is “to collaborate with the countries of origin and transit as Egypt, Ethiopia, Niger, Tunisia or Senegal“and address the root causes such as famine or conflict so that people are not forced to undertake the exodus.

The 2015 refugee crisis blew up the common asylum policy

The 2015 refugee crisis blew up the common asylum policy. And the migration agreement that resulted from it with Turkey marked the way to outsource border control to third countries. Since then, Europeans have lacked a sustainable migration project. The extreme right has channeledor this emptiness infiltrating your message. The tone that is being imposed in the community capital is that of blame the mafia and plug any hint of “regular migration”. But in parallel, the alternatives towards the creation of legal and safe routes are being lost along the way. “There is an absolute failure to apply policies that protect human rights,” the MEP makes ugly.

In the background is an increasingly volatile global scenario. The socioeconomic crisis of the pandemic has given rise to the war in Ukraine, which is leaving transversal consequences in food, energy and geopolitical terms throughout the globe. And the most vulnerable are the ones who are paying this toll the most. In the countries of Africa and the Middle East, the scarcity of wheat and cereals – 20 million tons held in Ukraine – threatens to unleash deep-seated famines.

All this, together with the consequences of climate change, make it possible to foresee strong exoduses in the near future of people fleeing misery, hunger and, on many occasions, death. Many of them will be destined for southern Europe. And in the context of bilateral tension with Algeria, another front opens up for Spain. Migratory dynamics are changing, the socioeconomic situation in Algiers is worsening and the country may be less willing to sign agreements with the EU and Spain on migration matters, as its Moroccan neighbor has historically done.

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