Migrants once again drawn to deadly Spanish route to Europe / Almost 600 migrants rescued off Spanish coast in less than 12 hours / Spain can’t cope with rising refugee influx: UN

Series Title
Series Details 10.07.17
Publication Date 17/08/2017
Content Type

Report discusses the increase in migrants from Africa attempting in 2017 to reach Europe by taking the dangerous route by sea from Morocco to the southern coast of Spain across the Alboran Sea - the Western Mediterranean Route.

From the 1 January - 5 July 2017 6464 migrants had arrived this way in Spain (compared to 1352 during the similar period in 2016), while 110 had perished.

Further information
The Morocco to Spain route had been a noted pressure point for years – certainly since 2005, when thousands of sub-Saharan migrants made world headlines by trying to climb over the fence in the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

Co-operation between Spain and Morocco has since kept migrant numbers comparatively low on this route. Migrants are also more inclined to depart from Libya because the likelihood of being returned by EU authorities is much lower.

A decade ago, migrants from Morocco to Spain were typically economic ones from Algeria and Morocco, hoping for jobs in Spain, France and Italy. Since then, however, they have increasingly been joined by sub-Saharan Africans, driven northwards by conflicts in Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic. In 2015, Syrians accounted for the biggest share of detections on this route.

West Africans reach Morocco or Algeria via two land routes. One follows the West African coastline; the shorter one crosses the Sahara. The coastal route is naturally preferred by migrants leaving Senegal and Mauritania, but also, often, by nationals of countries further afield - such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire or Benin - because the Sahara crossing is judged so dangerous.

There are various reasons for the fluctuation of overall numbers on this route. Spain has stepped up coastal patrols, installed the SIVE maritime surveillance system along its southern border and signed bilateral agreements with Mauritania and Senegal. It has also strengthened border checks at the main ports, a significant deterrent for would-be migrants secreting themselves aboard trucks and containers on ferries headed to Almeria and Algeciras – the traditional method of irregular entry. Rising unemployment in Spain, and therefore fewer opportunities for migrant workers, is also thought to be a factor.

Spanish border authorities do not only face challenges from irregular migrants. The western Mediterranean route has also long been a major conduit for drug-smugglers moving cannabis and cocaine towards the lucrative markets of the EU. Evidence suggests that the speedboats traditionally deployed by the smugglers are increasingly being replaced by small planes and helicopters.
(Information from Frontex: Trends and Routes: Western Mediterranean route)

The Central Mediterranean Route (mainly Libya to Italy) was by far the major route for migrants attempting to reach Europe in 2017.

Source Link http://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/migrants-once-again-drawn-to-deadly-spanish-route-to-europe/
Related Links
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges http://www.europeansources.info/record/information-guide-european-migration-challenges/
IOM: Spain https://www.iom.int/countries/spain
IOM: Press Release, 07.07.17: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 101,266 in 2017; 2,297 Deaths https://www.iom.int/news/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-101266-2017-2297-deaths
Frontex: Trends and Routes: Western Mediterranean route http://frontex.europa.eu/trends-and-routes/western-mediterranean-route/
ESO: Background information: Amnesty International puts spotlight on Spanish immigration policy, February 2015 http://www.europeansources.info/record/amnesty-international-puts-spotlight-on-spanish-immigration-policy/
ESO: Background information: Hundreds of African migrants enter Spain through Ceuta border, December 2016-February 2017 http://www.europeansources.info/record/hundreds-of-african-migrants-enter-spain-through-ceuta-border-1000-migrants-storm-border-fence-at-spanish-enclave-of-ceuta-hundreds-of-migrants-storm-spains-ceuta-clashing-with-police/
El País, 05.07.17: Hopes fade for 49 immigrants missing after shipwreck near Spain’s Melilla https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/07/05/inenglish/1499251496_949356.html
The Telegraph, 01.06.17: Spain bears brunt of new migrant route http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/01/spain-bears-brunt-new-migrant-route/
BBC News, 04.07.17: Migrants feared drowned off Morocco http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40496707
The Local.es, 13.09.17: Number of migrants arriving in Spain soars: minister https://www.thelocal.es/20170913/number-of-migrants-arriving-in-spain-soars-minister
El País, 24.02.17: Spain struggles with spike in migrant arrivals at North African enclave https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/02/22/inenglish/1487754099_696030.html?rel=mas?rel=mas
EurActiv, 16.08.17: Melilla: Spanish enclave in Morocco offers an exit route to Europe http://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/melilla-spanish-enclave-in-morocco-offers-an-exit-route-to-europe/
Frontex: News, 14.08.17: Migratory flows in July: Numbers fall in Italy, remain high in Spain http://frontex.europa.eu/pressroom/news/migratory-flows-in-july-numbers-fall-in-italy-remain-high-in-spain-gYt9f5
BBC News, 17.08.17: Migrant crisis: Spain rescues 600 people in busiest day http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40957089
The Local.es, 16.08.17: Spain poised to top Greece in migrant sea arrivals this year https://www.thelocal.es/20170816/spain-could-top-greece-in-migrant-sea-arrivals-this-year
El País, 17.08.17: Almost 600 migrants rescued off Spanish coast in less than 12 hours https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/08/17/inenglish/1502955937_130505.html
Politico, 17.08.17: Spain can’t cope with rising refugee influx: UN http://www.politico.eu/article/spain-cant-cope-with-rising-refugee-influx-un/
The Guardian, 17.08.17: Spain lacks capacity to handle migration surge, says UN refugee agency https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/17/spain-refugees-migrants-unhcr-warning
Spiegel Online International, 03.08.18: Shifting Overseas Route. Spain Becomes New Target for Migrants http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/refugees-now-aim-for-spain-in-their-migration-route-a-1221537.html#ref=nl-international
Politico, 03.08.18: EU grants Spain €3 million in emergency migration funds https://www.politico.eu/article/spain-migration-eu-grants-3-million-in-emergency-funds/
Deutsche Welle, 02.08.18: Is Spain facing a new wave of xenophobia over migrants? https://p.dw.com/p/32Ubu

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