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Grande-Marlaska urges his EU and North African counterparts to work towards real cooperation as "the only way to effectively manage migration flows"

Tuesday 11 May 2021

"Spain stresses, from its long experience, the need to invest in relations between countries of origin, transit and destination as the only way to effectively manage migration flows," stated Grande-Marlaska at the Ministerial Conference on the Management of Migration Flows, which brought together, both in person and virtually, the ministers of Home Affairs of the European Union and African countries of origin and transit, specifically Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Libya and Tunisia.

The summit took place on the occasion of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union and was also attended by Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, and representatives of United Nations and European Union agencies and bodies linked to the field of migration. Spanish Secretary of State for Migration Jesús Perea also participated on behalf of Spain. The aim of the meeting was to work towards strengthening cooperation between EU and African countries.

Making progress in the dialogue

In his speech, Grande-Marlaska pointed out that the summit held in Lisbon "is a magnificent opportunity to make progress in the dialogue with our African partners on the key issue of migration policy."

The minister said: "Spain firmly believes in international cooperation as the most effective formula for tackling the opportunities and challenges of migration." He then referred to the Team Europe initiative, a proposal by the Government of Spain in the area of migration that aims to combine the efforts of the Commission and the Member States to carry out cooperation and operational support projects in priority countries along migration routes.

Grande-Marlaska also drew his European and African partners attention to the Spanish example in terms of collaborating with African authorities and police forces. "We need to work with our partners on a daily basis, mainly in the operational field, through joint patrolling, information sharing and capacity building in security forces as part of the fight against networks. This joint effort delivers results and encourages us to continue to collaborate and deepen our relations," he said.

The Spanish minister defended cooperation between African countries and the European Union in the area of migration and also other Home Affairs matters, such as the fight against organised crime, road safety and civil protection. "I would like to thank our partners for their commitment and hard work. Our intention and will is to continue strengthening cooperation," concluded Grande-Marlaska.

Bilateral meetings

In addition to participating in the summit, Grande-Marlaska held bilateral meetings with several ministers from European and African countries. Regarding EU countries, he held meetings with the Greek Minister for Immigration and Asylum Policy Notis Mitarachi, and Slovenian Minister for Home Affairs, Aleš Hojs.

In terms of North African countries, Grande-Marlaska met with Kamel Beldjoud, the Algerian Minister for Home Affairs, Local Authorities and Territorial Planning, whom he had already had the opportunity to meet last August during the his trip to Algiers. On this occasion, he thanked the Algerian authorities for their cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other Home Affairs issues, and reiterated the need to increase joint work, through capacity building, in the fight against irregular migration and human trafficking networks.

Finally, the minister held a meeting with Tunisian Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Hichem Mechichi, when he reiterated Spain's commitment "to continue and strengthen" bilateral cooperation to "address existing shared challenges." Grande-Marlaska met with Mechichi last October during his trip to Tunisia.

Non official translation