Unaccompanied kids arriving in Spain – a challenge, not a problem

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SPAIN and Morocco are investigating ways of repatriating the unaccompanied minors (MENA) who arrive in Spain.

Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, revealed the joint plans on an official visit to Melilla.

He acknowledged that the autonomous city was worried by the MENA issue but said he was not in favour of modifying the Children’s Protection law to deal with it.

Grande-Marlaski emphasised that Spain and Morocco were working on a formula involving all Spanish institutions that would have the child’s interests at heart.

This coordination between Spain and Morocco would form the basis for future action “but always in the child’s interests,” the minister insisted.

The Moroccan authorities were the first to be concerned about the minors, Grande-Marlaska said.

“They want the children back in their own country and to provide them with protection, either within their families or in the care of the state.  Morocco does not want them uprooted,” he explained.

He did not like the term MENA, Grande-Marlaska said, which turned the children into objects.  Neither did he like describing the issue as a problem but preferred to regard it as a challenge, he added.

The minister also stressed that this was not situation going back eight months “or the day before yesterday” but one that he first became aware of three or four years ago when visiting Melilla.

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