Spain refuses to back EU-approved plan to manage migrant arrivals

AN EU migration official has said the bloc will support Spain on migration after its Interior Minister refused to back a plan passed in Bucharest designed to manage arrivals.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s Migration Commissioner, said at the meeting EU interior ministers the proposals, made by France and Germany, were welcome. He added the bloc would continue work with Spain and Morocco on the issue. 

Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said limits proposed for some countries should apply across the Mediterranean.

Italy and Malta were both allowed to limit the amount of migrants they take in under proposals approved at the meeting.

“Spain has no objection to temporary agreements, providing that they apply to the entire Mediterranean,” Grande-Marlaska said.

Grande Marlaska reportedly told his EU counterparts that Spain had taken in migrants after both Italy and Malta refused to do so several times.

“Spain rescues migrants because it is obliged to do so,” the Interior Minister said.

It comes as UN data showed the number of migrants who arrived in Spain in 2018 was around 65,325, higher than Greece with 50,215, Italy with 23,370 and Malta, 1,445.

The UN’s latest Quarterly Overview on Migration stated that 53 per cent of arrivals in Spain from October to December 2018 came from sub-Saharan Africa. Moroccans made up 25 per cent of the total followed by Algerians with 15 per cent.

Many are fleeing war, poverty, persecution, political instability and environmental problems in their home countries.

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Joe Gerrard

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