Spain is planning on tightening its security around Ceuta and Melilla after the EU said it is ‘very concerned’ over the country’s response to immigrants.
The country is to spend more than €2.3m (£1.89m) to fortify the borders that divide its territories of Ceuta and Melilla from Morocco.
Spain´s Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz says that this measure is an attempt to deter the thousands of migrants who arrive at the borders of Spain´s two exclaves in North Africa.
The reinforcements in the coming weeks will include lining the six-metre-high fences that surround both cities with a type of mesh designed to “impede anyone from climbing”, Jorge Fernández Díaz told reporters.
In Ceuta, an additional 20 Guardia Civil agents are to be deployed and a helicopter will help with the “dissuasion and detection” of migrants.
In Melilla, the government is planning to set three watch towers that will be equipped with heat-sensitive cameras.
Just last month, 15 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean after dozens tried to enter Ceuta by sea. An investigation into the incident has been opened.
Migrants claimed that Spanish police had attempted to prevent them entering Spanish territory by firing rubber bullets at them and spraying them with tear gas.
Fernández Díaz denied that police actions played any role in the drowning of the migrants. He said that police had fired rubber bullets, but they were “fired at the water, not at people”.
Thousands of people searching for a better life manage to cross into Spain each year – and with many countries like Syria, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo experiencing turmoil and unrest, the figures are rising.