The Executive of Pedro Sánchez assumes that the migratory pressure that has been experienced in recent weeks, especially in places like the Canary Islands, is a direct consequence of the pandemic and, to stop it, it relies its entire strategy on repatriations to the countries of origin.
Far from the idea that it is something fortuitous, Foreign Affairs recognizes that the exponential increase in arrivals to the Spanish coasts it was predictable and among the reasons they use are the economic effects of Covid-19 and the restriction of movements in migratory routes by land due to the closure of many borders.
The very head of Spanish diplomacy, Arancha González Laya, He let him glimpse this Sunday in his visit to Senegal, a trip that is part of the rapid deployment that the Government organized with several ministers at the head in order to strengthen alliances that help curb arrivals.
“The Government has been working on this issue for months and that is why it is being able to respond in this swift and comprehensive manner, “the Foreign Minister told the media.” Spain was prepared, “she said, although the events that have occurred in the last week may put it into question.
The pier of Arguineguin, in Gran Canaria, has been one of the most worrying scenarios of this crisis, with hundreds of people crowded under tents for days. There, last Tuesday, the authorities left more than 200 migrants out in the open on the street due to the collapse of the facility after the “incessant” arrivals of the previous days.
The latest figures suggest that they are already more than 18,400 people those that have reached the islands, more than half of them in the last month. Currently, there are about 6,000 migrants staying in 17 resorts in the archipelago. Only this Sunday 143 people arrived on the islands. And the forecast is that it goes in increase.
The President of the Government himself, Pedro Sanchez, recognized this Sunday that “the tensions” caused by immigrant flows “are going to be much greater” as consequence of “misery and the lack of employment and opportunities “that the pandemic is causing and aimed at Africa as the main route of arrivals.
Two ministers, Fernando Grande-Marlaska and Arancha González Laya, traveled to the neighboring continent in recent days. The objective was clear: to weave pacts to stop arrivals and send the strong message that The Canary Islands will not become the gateway to Europe.
The Interior Minister, in a visit to Rabat, assured that the intention of the Government of Spain is to avoid under any circumstances that the archipelago acts as an “irregular entry way” to the EU. And, to that end, he ruled out the possibility raised by the Canarian government of transfer migrants to the peninsula.
Marlaska hid in that “EU policies” do not allow it, but the truth is that hours later from the European Commission they denied the major to confirm that community regulation does not prevent migrant movements within the borders of a national territory.
Even so, the strategy was already defined, as made clear by another minister, José Luis Ábalo, when noting that Spain “is still the gateway to Europe“And, therefore,” we cannot give a message that these things are possible. “” We have a very important responsibility with the EU, “he said.
The Executive is clear that the Canary Islands must become the wall that stops access to community land but the problem is that these hundreds of people cannot stay crowded in shelters like those in Arguineguin. And the intermediate solution, distribute them to other communities, is not on the table, despite the predisposition shown by regions such as Castilla y León.
The intermediate solution was announced on a trip to Las Palmas by the Minister of Integration, Social Security and Migrations, José Luis Escrivá: create 7,000 new reception places, a camp, in the words of Ábalos, that only aspires to provide humanitarian conditions “as decent as possible” before the immigrants are returned to their countries of origin, the only possible option for many of them.
A message has been installed in the government’s rhetoric against “irregular immigration”, despite the internal criticism that this may cause in the coalition. González Laya, from Dakar, assured that “whoever uses illegal roads you will have to return to your country“.” Whoever wants to use the legal channels, “added the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Prime Minister for his part defended the need to “activate ppolicies of solidarity throughout the country“, but also” repatriation policies “to combat irregular migration.
These words were interpreted by the President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, as an open door to transfers. On Friday, he had already shown his firm opposition to the island being the only place in the country that houses migrants.
Today, Sunday, I have spoken by phone with President Sánchez. After the conversation, I appreciate his public intervention, highlighting that “together with the fight against the mafias (…) we must activate solidarity policies throughout the country and repatriation policies.” pic.twitter.com/mD7phfBte9
– Ángel Víctor Torres (@avtorresp) November 22, 2020
But, for the moment, the objective is for everyone who steps on Spanish soil illegally to return to their countries of origin. “Even if they arrive in the Canary Islands, these people are going to be repatriated to the countries with which we have agreements,” Sánchez specified in order to launch a “forceful” message against the mafias: “Spain is not going to allow the irregular trafficking of human beings”.
The message has reached the G20, where the president defended, according to his own version, “the importance of better manage flows, collaborating with countries of origin, transit and destination, and in tackling the causes “.