After more than a year of decline thanks to the increased cooperation between Rabat and Madrid, the arrivals of irregular migrants in the Canary Islands experienced a strong recovery last June, which turned out to be the most intense month in terms of migration. This year.
According to data from the Spanish Interior Ministry, the first half of 2023 recorded the arrival of 7,213 migrants to the Canary Islands, a decrease of 18.5% compared to the same period in 2022. However, it is important to note that 40% of these arrivals were concentrated in the month of June, with a total of 2,807 migrants disembarked on the archipelago . Until last month, this migratory route had seen a steady slowdown, with a continuous decline of around 50%.
This report marks a significant change in the general evolution of migratory flows, with an increase of around 30% in arrivals by sea on the Spanish coasts, after several months of stagnation and slight decreases compared to 2022. During year, there has been a slight increase in the influx of boats to the peninsula and the Balearic Islands.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the data of the Spanish Ministry do not allow to detail the flows in a precise way, and it is therefore difficult to know if this increase mainly concerns the routes of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea, or if it also concerns the Algerian route.
Furthermore, it is important to point out that the increase in the numbers of arrivals in the Canary Islands can be attributed to the good climatic conditions. This increase also occurs quite early in the year, since this migratory route tends to see an increase in its flow in the fall and generally begins to manifest itself from the month of September, as explained by several sources. specialized.
To illustrate a very recent example, since June 11, 2023, a total of 51 Moroccan migrants, supposed to take an irregular migration boat off Agadir bound for the Canary Islands, have been reported missing and their fate remains unknown. The previous week, more than 30 people were also reported missing and two people had lost their lives off the coast of the Sahara.
It should be recalled that in 2020, a year marked by a sharp increase in departures of makeshift boats to the archipelago, the situation remained relatively stable until September. However, between this period and December, around 13,000 people arrived in the Canary Islands, and this trend was maintained for a good part of 2021, to drop significantly a few months later.
This significant decline is mainly due to the consolidation of relations between Morocco and Spain in the fight against irregular migration. For the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, Rabat is ” an essential ally for our security and for orderly migration in our country and on the European continent “.
However, the Iberian media believe that this increase in the irregular migratory flow is “sudden” and comes less than a month before the snap legislative elections in Spain, in which Morocco has turned into an electoral issue and a pressure card. indirect influence of far-right parties.
According to the same sources, relations between Spain and Morocco, particularly in terms of migration and security cooperation, indirectly influence the political debate during the campaigns.