The 20th meeting of the Hispano-Moroccan Permanent Group on Migration was held this Friday, May 6 in Rabat, an opportunity for Rabat and Madrid to take stock and put in place new mechanisms to promote bilateral cooperation. in matters of migration.
The meeting of the Hispano-Moroccan Permanent Group on Migration, is one of the main commitments included in the roadmap agreed on April 7 after the meeting between the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez and the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI .
During this meeting of the Permanent Group on Migration, the 20th since its creation in 2003, the two parties discussed the new challenges in terms of migration after the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, and discussed the main points of collaboration between the two countries on a key subject in the framework of relations between Spain and Morocco.
Support for circular migration and “talent partnership” programs
Speaking on this occasion, the Secretary of State for Migration Affairs, Jesús Javier Perea, stressed the need to continue regular migration programs as a strategic objective for Spain and also for the European Union, especially after the communication of the European Commission of 27 April to this effect.
In this sense, he highlighted the efforts of the Spanish government in promoting initiatives focused on training, such as Wafira, a project funded by the European Union which allows hundreds of Moroccan women to be trained in cooperatives. Spanish so that when they return to Morocco, they can start their own business with technical and financial support.
“These programs, he said, contribute to strengthening relations between the two countries in terms of regular migration while contributing to the development and empowerment of the women who participate in them”.
Perea also highlighted the commitment with training programs in various professional activities and which involve Spanish companies based in the neighboring country, as well as the bond created between Moroccan women – more than 12,000 this year – who participate in the collection red fruits as part of the GECCO program.
In this sense, he added, the Spanish government will continue to support training and inclusion in this area, as well as improving access routes for Moroccan students who wish to complete their university studies in Spain.
Operational cooperation, key to immigration control
For his part, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior, Rafael Pérez, highlighted the commitment of Spain and Morocco to continue strengthening bilateral cooperation in migration matters.
“We are neighboring countries and strategic partners, the daily joint work has been an example, especially in terms of controlling migratory flows and the fight against human trafficking networks,” said Rafael Pérez.
In this regard, he mentioned the economic consequences of the pandemic and the closure of borders linked to the health crisis as factors that have influenced migratory flows: “We firmly believe that the best option to face this challenge is bilateral cooperation with the country of origin and with those who share this same challenge”.
In the same vein, Rafael Pérez detailed examples of joint collaboration that have demonstrated their operational effectiveness in recent years, such as the joint maritime, land and air patrols between the Civil Guard and the Royal Gendarmerie, the exchange of information and police collaboration to dismantle human trafficking networks, and the creation of police cooperation centers in Tangier and Algeciras.
As for the Atlantic route, Pérez indicated that the joint work on “return”, as a deterrent to departures to the Canary Islands, is proving to be an effective instrument in dismantling trafficking networks . The Secretary of State for Security expressed his desire to continue to intensify efforts in this area “with agility and flexibility”.
Streamline visa procedures
For her part, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ángeles Moreno, expressed her satisfaction with the resumption of the permanent bilateral dialogue on migration. This meeting, she recalled, is the first concrete application of the joint declaration adopted during the visit of the President of the Government to Morocco on April 7.
Concerning the Moroccan requests for acceleration of the granting of visas, Moreno underlined the quantitative and qualitative efforts made by the consular services of Spain in Morocco and reiterated the will to pursue them and to lighten the procedures as much as possible. This is in the interest of both parties, promoting orderly and regular mobility. Spain wants more and more Moroccan students to improve their academic training in Spanish institutions.
Regional, European and multilateral migration issues of interest to both parties, such as the imminent Global Forum to follow up the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the Spanish Presidency of the Rabat Process, the Team Europe initiative for The Atlantic and Western Mediterranean route promoted by Spain, the bilateral opportunities of Morocco’s growing participation in European funding in this Multiannual Financial Framework or the monitoring of the migratory commitments of the European Union-African Union summit, were also discussed.
In each of these subjects, the two parties, which displayed convergence of views, decided on ways of collaborating, in particular in the Rabat process, in which the two parties, in accordance with the mandate of the declaration of April 7, exchanged ideas to ensure close collaboration in their respective chairs of the process in 2022 and 2023.
It should be noted that on the Moroccan side, a delegation led by the director of migration and border surveillance, Khalid Zarouali, took part in the meeting.