Spain drowning in migrants as Italy tightens border controls


August 18 , 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

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KtovKurse – translated by Inessa Sinchougova

Spain may soon be at the center of the migration crisis, as migration routes change. Spain becomes the most convenient point for those who want to get to Europe, Vesti Economics writes, citing data from the Gatestone Institute .

According to the International Organization for Migration, over the first seven months of 2017, more than 9,700 illegal migrants reached the Spanish coast, which is three times more than in all of 2016.

Thousands of migrants entered Spain by land, primarily through the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern coast of Morocco. Once they are placed in temporary shelters, they gain access to Spain, where many move to other European countries.

In total, this year, about 12,000 migrants arrived to Spain, compared with 13,246 for the entire 2016. For comparison, 14,156 migrants arrived in Greece in 2017.

Italy leads the list of popular routes of migrants: this country has already received 97 thousand migrants this year compared with 181,436 thousand in 2016. Italy has become the main destination for migrants after Turkey refused an agreement with the EU, signed in March 2016.

Over the past four years almost 600 thousand migrants arrived in Italy. 

In May, Italy signed an agreement with Libya, Chad and Niger to stop the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean by improving border controls.

In July, Italy also concluded an agreement with France and Germany on tightening regulation of the movement of vessels picking up migrants in the Mediterranean, and increasing the amount of funds for the Libyan coast guard.

Since that time, the coast guard of Libya has not allowed thousands of migrants to leave Libya. Naturally, migrants find other routes, and this explains the growing number of migrants arriving in Spain.

Most migrants arriving in Italy and Spain are considered economic migrants looking for a better life in Europe, rather than refugees fleeing military conflicts.

The overwhelming majority of settlers crossing the Italian border come from Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea and other countries of West Africa. 

The authorities of Spain reported that African migrants are trying to cross the border in Ceuta, where fences up to six meters high with barbed wire are already installed. Minister of Internal Affairs of Spain, Juan Ignacio Zoido, said that in the first seven months of 2017 in Ceuta, 2,666 attempts were made to overcome the perimeter, compared with 3,472 attempts for the entire 2016.

Migrants, armed with spears, clubs and other improvised weapons, join forces and attack a closed border. Attempted breakthroughs occur almost every day.

Migrants traditionally use various boats to get to Spain by sea. Boats, usually rubber, are full of people – this is already a usual sight on the beaches in some parts of the country.

Migrants also use other means to reach Spain. On August 6, for example, four Moroccans reached the coast of Malaga by water motorcycles. In July and August, the police intercepted at least two dozen migrants who used water motorcycles to reach to Spain. On August 10, police using motion detectors and thermal imagers found 56 migrants, including 14 children hiding inside trucks on their way from Ceuta to the ferry port in Algeciras.

Spain will not be able to cope with the problem itself; managing the migration flows will require a unified European policy and sufficient economic resources.

But the biggest migration movements are yet to come. According to forecasts, the population of Africa will double in the coming decades. This means that the population of Egypt will reach 100 million people, Nigeria – 400 million people. And very few people will want to live in these countries, if there is an opportunity to get a chance for a “better life” in Europe.

Historians and experts emphasize that now we are witnessing one of the most massive migrations in history, and it will intensify.

President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said that in order to stop the flow of migrants from Africa, the European Union will need to invest billions and develop a long-term strategy for stabilizing the continent: “If we fail to solve the central problems in African countries, 10, 20 or even 30 million immigrants will arrive in the European Union within the next ten years. “

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