European migration policy: the cases of Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish cities in Morocco
The cities of Ceuta and Melilla, which have respectively 74,000 people in 19 square kilometers and 68,000 in 12.3 square kilometers, are located in the northern coast of Morocco, but they are Spanish territory since the fifteenth century. These autonomous cities (as far as concerned both legislative and many executive aspects) are under pressure of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who, dreaming Europe, venture into perilous journeys through Morocco to the two Spanish enclaves.
Precisely because of that migration pressure the two Spanish enclaves in Morocco are protected around the perimeter border by a double barrier of wire mesh, highs six meters, costing 140 million European, invested in 15 years.
In recent years, as a result of attempts to attack the protective barriers of the city, the Moroccan and Spanish security forces have put in place strong measures to clamp down on illegal immigrants. Besides, Civil Guard officers monitor day and night passes by land as well as those by sea.
It is estimated that in the last decade the influx of migrants managed to enter Ceuta and Melilla was 28,000 people. According to sources, the local prefecture, in fact, the migratory pressure in Melilla in 2014 has doubled since 2013. The migrant objective is to arrive at the center of temporary residence for immigrants. The means they use ranging from assault to fences, travel on boats or concealed in false bottoms of vehicles or in propellers of the ferry crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Spanish government has announced plans to amend the legislation to control the huge influx of migrants at the borders of Ceuta and Melilla, in order to legalize returns ‘hot’, that are immediate, the Moroccan authorities against illegal immigrants who manage to climb over the barrier border. To this end, it was an amendment to the law of citizen security, currently before Parliament, for a change in the law relating to aliens.
The change in law provides for an action protocol, drawn up by the Interior Ministry, which provides a continuous alarm, with the continuous surveillance of borders, in cooperation with the Moroccan authorities to intercept as soon as the mass arrival of immigrants. They will be hindered attempts to climb, following the principles laid down by law, for which agents will provide help and protect the physical integrity of migrants, informing them of the causes and purposes of any arrest. The legislation also provides for the use of officers in riot gear, in the event that migrants adopt violent attitudes, but always respecting the principles of opportunity, congruence and proportionality. And agents will be required to call the health care services in the event that any of the illegal showing wounded. The migrants who manage to cross the border and that will be intercepted by the security forces to be transferred to the police station, where they will be identified and registered.
In addition, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed concern about the situation on the borders of Ceuta and Melilla “because the number of incidents related to border control may prevent persons in need of international protection access to Spanish territory and to the asylum procedure.”
For this reason, UNHCR is paying particular attention to the various news and recent reports of expulsions and other difficulties faced by people in need of international protection in an effort to reach Spanish territory. “We understand very well the legitimate concerns of governments that want to protect and monitor their borders, as well as the complexity involved in being a national border and at the same time an external border of the European Union, as in the case of Ceuta and Melilla, the only two land borders with Africa, “said Francesca Friz-Prguda, UNHCR’s representative in Spain.”While we understand the complexity of the situation, it is essential to manage the borders and mixed migration flows in harmony with the fundamental rights of national and European legislation and international treaties to which Spain is a party, in particular the 1951 Convention on the Status of refugees”, said Friz-Prguda.
UNHCR has offered its full support to the authorities in order to improve international protection and the asylum system in the two Spanish cities, providing a number of specific recommendations and, to that end; he is engaged in a constant dialogue with the relevant authorities. “We have to work, and we are working together to restore the confidence of people in need of international protection in the asylum system in Ceuta and Melilla. In addition to safe territory and to the asylum procedure, it is essential to have an environment free of violence and where fundamental rights are respected, “he added Friz-Prguda.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch published on 10 February, the police in Spain are “a disproportionate use of force at the time of the summary expulsion”, while on the other side of the wall, “the Moroccan police is used to accommodate those who do not got through the fence with sticks and batons, beatings while migrants are frequently deprived of their property.”Speaking of rejections – made without any real knowledge of the situation of those who have faced and may be potential political refugees and persecuted in their countries of origin – the NGO is categorical, “as well as prevent any possible claim for asylum or humanitarian protection , expulsions happen to a country – Morocco – that deliberately violate the rights of these people. Spain is aware of the situation, already documented by other organizations such as Medecins sans Frontieres, and must immediately stop this practice. “Although the Spanish government has ensured that such incidents are only the exception and not the rule, Madrid is far from being oriented towards a climate of detente with respect to migrants. Quite the contrary has among its plans at a cost of 2.3 million Euros which will fortify the borders that divide the Spanish territories from those Moroccans, with a series of measures aimed at improving the ‘buffer capacity’ fences coating them with a metal mesh which, according to the Minister of the Interior -.Jorge Fernández Díaz – “prevents anyone from climbing.”
Also, as if you were fighting a war, there are reinforcements to the team of the Civil Guard present in the two enclaves, which will be equipped with a helicopter to fly all along the coast and watch towers equipped with cameras sensitive to heat.
Meanwhile, in addition to not wanting to release anywhere near the iron fist, Spain has called for economic aid to Brussels just to deal with what Fernández Díaz defined as an “emergency situation.”
The European Union itself has asked Spain to strengthen police checks at the borders of Ceuta and Melilla, in order to prevent the possible entry of jihadists. Madrid will train officers because “they can identify terrorist elements” in order to avoid that the four terrorists come across the borders of the Spanish enclaves might increase.
The European Commission, in fact, taking into account migratory pressure resulting from the Arab Spring, then presented a number of initiatives aimed at developing a comprehensive European migration policy, which can better meet the challenges posed by migration. This policy must comply with the European tradition of asylum and protection, while avoiding the illegal border crossings. The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility is, as of 2005, the overall picture of EU external policy on migration and asylum, and defines the way in which the Union shall conduct political dialogue and operational cooperation with third countries. It is based on clearly defined priorities, which reflect the strategic objectives of the EU, and is integrated in the overall foreign policy of the Union, including development cooperation.
The purpose of the comprehensive approach is to promote dialogue and cooperation with third country partners in four areas: better organize legal migration and mobility promote a well-managed; prevent and combat irregular migration and eradicate trafficking in human beings; to maximize the impact of migration on development; promoting international protection and enhancing the external dimension of asylum.
The implementation of the Global Political dialogue takes place through regional and bilateral (with policy tools such as mobility partnerships), legal instruments such as agreements on visa facilitation and readmission agreements, forms of operational support and development capabilities, and a wide range of initiatives to support programs and projects (open to a variety of stakeholders including civil society, migrant associations and international organizations).
“A well managed migration offers real benefits to all parties involved both for migrants to countries. Our success depends heavily on dialogue and cooperation with third countries and international organizations. The mobility partnerships, agreements the facilitation of issuance of visas accompanied by readmission agreements, and the common rules on visas remain important policy tools, but we have to work even harder to promote economic growth and competitiveness and to address together with third countries the problematic aspects of the migration, such as trafficking in human beings and smuggling, “said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs.
With regard to the control at the external borders of the EU, EU action must be effective and allow you to maintain a high level of security, while facilitating the movement of persons authorized to enter the EU. The Commission intends to reinforce the existing common standards. It provides, inter alia, to create a European system of border guards. The Commission also insists on strengthening cooperation between national authorities and the exchange of operational information about any incident at the external borders, in particular thanks to the EUROSUR. Should also be strengthened operational capacity of Frontex.
The evaluation of the application of the Schengen rules by the Member States must take place at the EU level, with the participation of experts from Member States and Frontex, directed by the Commission. The latter is also planning to establish a mechanism to decide, at European level, the reintroduction exceptionally of internal border controls.
Finally, to prevent illegal immigration, the Commission stresses the need for a European return policy (return to their country of illegal immigrants who have no need of international protection) balanced and efficient. The Commission insists that all Member States to transpose the Directive into their national law the “return” on common standards and procedures for the return of illegal immigrants, and the directive sanctioning the employment of illegally staying third-country nationals. Finally, recognizing the effectiveness of readmission agreements with third countries, but believes that such agreements should be considered as part of the EU’s overall relations with the countries concerned and accompanied by incentives that help countries implement them.
The Commission calls for better mobility organized based on cooperation (between European agencies Frontex and Europol and between customs authorities and national police) as well as on new technologies. A European system input / output ensure that the data relating to border crossing by citizens of third countries are available for the relevant authorities. A registered traveler program would, however, automated border control for those who travel frequently.
Also the visa policy is an important tool in terms of mobility. To prevent any abuse in the area of visa liberalization, the Commission proposes to introduce a safeguard clause that would allow the temporary reintroduction of the visa requirement for nationals of a third country.
At the same time, the Union recognizes that immigrants are a labor required for the EU, both to meet the shortages of workers in certain sectors such as highly skilled workforce. It is therefore important to recognize their skills and facilitate administrative procedures. The Commission expects progress on the project for a single permit authorizing foreigners to live and work in a Member State, and calls on EU countries to transpose the Directive into their national legislation the European blue card which would facilitate the recruitment of highly qualified people. He also submitted proposals for seasonal workers and persons temporarily transferred by their company.
Finally, the integration of migrants into European society must be a balance between respecting the rights of migrants and the laws and cultures of the host country. It requires effort on the part of both migrants and the host country. Successful integration is essential to maximize the economic, social and cultural benefits of immigration of people and society.