Frontex predicts an increase in illegal immigration in Spain
A Maritime Rescue vessel arrives at the port of Malaga after rescuing 54 African migrants who were sailing in an inflatable boat off the Spanish coast, on January 13 in the Andalusian city
Spain will face this year “most likely” a greater flow of irregular migrants from Africa, and human and material resources could be insufficient, warned Friday Fabrice Leggeri from Madrid, director of Frontex, the European agency of border surveillance.
In 2017, Spain consolidated its position as the third entry point for illegal immigrants by sea in Europe.
These arrivals tripled, adding according to Frontex data about 22,900, while routes to Italy and Greece were less traveled than in 2016.
For this year, Leggeri considered “very likely that (migratory) flows increase in the western Mediterranean route.” For that reason, he warned, “we have to be prepared.”
Currently, Frontex coordinates the Indalo operation on the Mediterranean coasts of southern Spain, together with the national police and the Civil Guard.
The European official said that “his commitment is to increase and extend the support of Frontex to Spain”, so that the coverage of the operation arrives on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar, that is, to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Likewise, he said that during the year he will be able to “increase if necessary” the Frontex budget for the Indalo operation, which is now seven million euros.
However, he expressed concern about Frontex’s dependence on the material and human resources provided by the EU Member States.
“The big challenge is not in the budget or the money, the big challenge is that member states provide their boats and coastguards for operations,” he said at a press conference, adding that in the face of the growing flow of irregular immigration, ” Spain deserves greater solidarity from the European Union. ”
According to it specified, the current endowment of the operation Indalo in the Spanish coasts is of 100 agents, two ships and two airplanes.