Spain has hit out at the European Union for wasting money trying to curb immigration as the country tries to reach an agreement with Morocco.
Secretary of State for Security José Antonio Nieto commended Morocco’s “enormous effort” to help Spain curb immigration, but also asked Europe to help the nation’s migrant problem.
He wants the EU to help developing countries where migrants come from, so they will stop seeking a “European miracle” and stop crossing borders illegally.
Spain is asking the EU to help Morocco manage immigration, in the same way, the bloc stepped in to help in Turkey with Syrian refugees.
An agreement between the EU and Turkey established Turkey would welcome all refugees arriving from Greece in exchange for the EU relocating an equal number of Syrians already settled in Turkey.
This followed the EU approving €3bn (£2.2bn) in funding to help Turkey cope with record numbers of Syrian migrants.
But Mr Nieto hit out at the EU for sending the money to Turkey rather than developing the poorer countries.
He told ABC: “We want people to have hope for the development of their countries and not come here waiting for the European miracle and then end up in a critical situation being used again by the mafia.”
Spain believes to stop the illegal immigration, it is important to cooperate with and assist the countries the immigrants are coming from, and help develop them so citizens of those countries can have a decent standard of living and lose the need to “have to risk their lives, spend all their savings and leave their families”.
Mr Nieto said: “We have to assume that the pressure will continue. Immigration is a business that, according to international reports, is even more lucrative than drug trafficking.”
He hit out at the way money is used, adding: “What we do not know is how to make that money work for the right cause.
“We are talking about mechanisms to make it arrive, guarantees to see where it is used, we want it to be used for development and that the people who need it actually receive it.
“Morocco is making an enormous effort to faithfully attend its cooperation commitment with Spain on immigration matters”, adding that he is contacting “constantly Frontex” (the European border agency) to put in place a stable and “strategically well-ordered policy” to address the migration problem.
“A very solid alliance has been established with Turkey and it has worked. And Morocco, a country that has been working for a long time in helping and has been doing it with loyalty and without receiving too much in return, also requires aid.”
In 2017, illegal immigration in Spain grew by more than 100 percent, while arrivals through Greece fell by 77 percent.