IN A TV interview on March 11, the caretaker interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said that he was preparing to see a flood of migrants and refugees use Spain as an entry point to Europe now that the route via Greece through the Balkans was being closed.
He praised Spanish officials for being both vigilant and efficient which had meant that the number of people arriving in Spain had been relatively low up until now but he believes that Spain needs to be vigilant as in his words “If one door is closed, they will seek another. The mafias are bad but they are not stupid.”
“If we do not cooperate with the countries of origin, we have not solved the problem; we will have plugged and patched the problem but not solved it,” he added.
Apart from direct sailings from North Africa to Spanish beaches, Ceuta and Melilla could well see an increase in the number of people trying to ‘break in’ so that they can claim that they are on Spanish soil and there has recently been a problem in the Canary Islands where foreign migrants were flying in on false passports prior to moving onto mainland Europe and the UK.
On March 17, caretaker prime minister Rajoy will be travelling to Brussels to take part in a debate concerning the EU deal on the return of illegal migrants to Turkey in exchange for legal ones. He has indicated that he supports this plan but hasn’t bothered to put it to a parliamentary vote as there is no parliamentary control over an interim government.
Apart from the nearly 15,000 refugees Spain agreed to accept under the EU quota system, the interim government indicated on March 10 that it would take a further 450 from Turkey.