The EU has struck a deal with Morocco for preventing refugees from travelling into Europe, committing the same mistake it made with Turkey just five years ago, U.S. based political journal Politico said on Wednesday.
Deals between the bloc and countries like Turkey and Morocco grant massive leverage to “unpredictable partners,’’ it said, in providing them with assistance in exchange for preventing refugees from travelling into Europe.
The European Commission in December 2019 adopted cooperation programmes worth 389 million euros in support of Morocco, in order to support border management, among other issues.
In 2016, the EU signed a deal with Turkey in which the latter agreed to curb the flow of migrants and refugees into the EU in exchange for six billion euros for refugee-related services and visa-free travel in the EU for Turkish citizens.
Turkey has accused the EU of failing to keep to its pledges, while the EU has said Ankara is using refugees as political leverage – in late February of 2020, Turkey opened its land borders to migrants and refugees seeking to enter Greece.
Politico highlighted an incident on Monday, during which 6,000 people pushed off swam around two border walls into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, with border patrols effectively turning a blind eye.
The incident was just one in a string of mass arrivals of migrants in Spain from the North African country in recent months that have prompteddiplomatic tensions between Madrid and Rabat.
Morocco’s move was a finger wagging at Spain, urging the country to keep good relations, Politico said, noting that the greatest effect of the EU’s spending on migration has not been to bolster the bloc’s borders or protect the people looking to cross into Europe, but hand power to Morocco’s king, who has no reservations about using it.