Migrants rescued at sea arrive at the port of Malaga in Southern Spain - credit: EPA/Carlos Diaz
Migrants rescued at sea arrive at the port of Malaga in Southern Spain - credit: EPA/Carlos Diaz

The Spanish government aims to invest 30 million euros to manage the current record number of migrants arriving in the country. While welcoming to migrants, the Socialist government says it is unprepared to handle the influx.

Spain is seeing a new surge of migrants arriving on its shores. Over 22,000 people have arrived so far this year, according to Spain's maritime rescue service. That's more than in all of 2017. Arrivals spiked this past weekend with more than 1,500 migrants who landed in the south of the country in and around Algeciras.

Emergency assistance

In an emergency plan, the Spanish government plans to invest 30 million euros for migrant reception. The money will go towards covering initial costs of managing arrivals on the beaches, from organizing staff to handing out blankets and from providing food to processing asylum claims, Reuters reports.

With police stations and makeshift emergency shelters set up in centers in Cadiz being at full capacity, many rescued migrants have now been forced to sleep on the pavement or inside a rescue boat docked in the port of Algeciras.

Unprepared for influx

Police and charities that work with migrants such as the Andalusian Pro-Human Rights Association (APDHA) say the surge in arrivals is exposing Spain's response as unplanned, underfunded and understaffed, according to reports on AFP.

 "The number of migrant arrivals is very significant, as is the lack of means to deal with it," the representative of the Cadiz branch of the United Police Union (SUP), Carmen Velayos, told AFP. As required by law, migrants must be processed within 72 hours after they arrive, but there are not enough employees to handle to registration, Velayos added.

Liberalist stance

Prime Minister Pedro Sanches has asserted his liberalist stance by offering to receive hundreds of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean following Italy and Malta's announcements to close their ports to NGO migrant rescue vessels. The main opposition conservative party, Partido Popular (PP), warned against creating a "pull factor" for migrants wanting to come to Europe.

Meanwhile, Sanchez also said that the previous government has left Spain unprepared to deal with the influx. "Rather than a pull factor, we could talk about a lack of foresight in the last years of the previous government, which did nothing about increasing arrivals, and obliged this government to take urgent steps," Sanchez's office said in a statement.


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