Spain to reject EU Commission’s refugee plan

Spanish government asks EU Commission for more sustainable and fairer refugee plan

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Spanish government is to reject a refugee plan from the EU Commission which foresees Spain taking more immigrants within its borders without further consideration of its economic and social capacity.

The EU Commission wants 28 EU member countries to accept refugees in quotas tied to each country’s economy, population and employment rate.

Spain would take 4,288 refugees out of 40,000, which is equivalent to 10.72 percent of the total. Germany would take 21.91 percent, and France 16.88 percent of the refugees.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said that the EU needs a “proportionate, fair and realistic” plan for distributing the immigrants, and the current one has not been fair.

“I do not agree with the criteria they used. We need to review this issue again to determine the capabilities of each country,” he added.

“We are making a huge effort to control migration from Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal which impacts the whole EU.”

Margallo stressed that Spain will commit to solving the Mediterranean migrant crisis with the help of ships, patrol aircraft and navy personnel.

Following the release of the Commission’s refugee plan, Germany and France also wanted Commission to revise the plan, thinking the plan may not be sustainable and would cause an unjust burden for EU countries.

Illegal migrants in Spanish exclaves

Margallo said that while Spain has accepted refugees legally under the EU Commission project, there have also been illegal entrances to the North African Spanish exclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.  

This year Spain has received 3,000 asylum requests from Syrians in Melilla. In 2014, 1,681 asylum requests from Syrian refugees were accepted.

African migrants often seek to enter mainland Spain through Morocco through the Ceuta and Melilla enclaves. Many of the migrants were caught by the police trying the climb over the fence, while many drowned trying to enter the enclaves via the sea.

In 2005, Spain and Morocco decided to increase surveillance along the border to prevent deaths from occurring as migrants attempt to enter the exclaves.

The Spanish government has asked the European Union for help in reducing the number of immigrants to Melilla and Ceuta.

According to data from Human Rights Watch 4,300 people in 2013 tried to enter Ceuta and Melilla, up from 2,804 people in 2012.

Last year 100 migrants successfully entered Melilla when at least 400 migrants stormed the border fence.

Overall, around 14,000 migrants have tried to cross the border, with 2,000 of them making it into Melilla.

To date, approximately 6,500 migrants have died trying to cross the border.

TRTWorld and agencies