Spain to receive EU funding boost to help tackle surge in migrant arrivals

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (L) is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) prior a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 28 June 2018. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

Spain will receive a boost in European Union funding to help it cooperate with migrant origin and transit nations, a policy that aims to tackle the crisis at the source, the country’s new prime minister told lawmakers Wednesday (June 27). EURACTIV’s media partner efe-epa reports.

Pedro Sánchez, the Socialist Party leader who rose to power after a no-confidence vote ousted his conservative predecessor, set out his government’s position ahead of a European Council meeting in Brussels Thursday (June 28) where migration policy is set to take centre stage.

The deal to provide Spain with extra EU finances came off the back of a series of bilateral discussions held with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and was announced to lawmakers attending the weekly prime minister’s questions in the lower house of parliament.

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The head of government underlined the important role Morocco has to offer in collaboration with the EU’s migration policies and he defended his government’s decision to receive the Aquarius migrant rescue vessel carrying 630 people at the eastern port city of Valencia after it was refused entry permission by Italy and Malta.

Some 274 of those passengers, who were rescued from the flimsy boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, since requested passage to France.

Many observers have interpreted Sánchez’s actions as an effort to set the tone of his fledgeling centre-left executive, which so far has contrasted sharply with more hardline migrant policies emerging in Italy, Austria and even within the German cabinet, where recent elections have seen a resurgence of right-wing populism.

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