THE government originally offered to accept 2,749 refugees during the latter part of 2015 but with the dramatic increase of those fleeing Syria and with pressure from Brussels it has indicated that it will increase the number to be accepted.
Brussels has set a pan-EU target of 120,000 to be shared – but not equally – amongst its member states and has indicated that it looks to Spain to accept 15,000 which is more than 12 per cent of the total and is one of the highest totals of refugees to be allocated, putting Spain alongside France and Germany.
Spain forecasts that the number of applications for asylum in 2015 will be treble the figure received in 2014, to a total of 17,000 and this does not take into account the number of unapproved migrants who already enter Ceuta and Melilla on a daily basis. There is also the ongoing situation of migrants from Spanish American countries obtaining easy entry into the traditional ‘motherland’ and Spanish nationality after only two years.
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has met with Angela Merkel and David Cameron who have clearly explained their decisions to increase the number of refugees that they will accept and this, coupled with the international shock at the images of the two dead children found on the beach at Bodrun, must have had some influence on his decision.
Spain also has experience of negotiating return agreements with countries such as Morocco with regards to migrants rather than refugees and has offered to share this knowledge with its partners.
A committee of ministers is due to meet shortly to announce a decision in relation to the number of refugees to be accepted by Spain but as previously reported, whilst Spain is committed to taking a humanitarian stance with regards to the situation it does look for an EU-wide policy which is fair to all of the member states.