By investing in cooperation with Morocco, Spain has seen irregular migration from by just under 40% in 2018.
According to Spanish official data published last Tuesday, in the first half of 2019 Spain saw a 39% drop in irregular migration compared to the same period in 2018. This means that the Spanish government is closer to its objective of reducing irregular immigration by half in 2019.
With the closing down of Italian ports and heightened security in Morocco, flows seem to be returning to Greece, which has so far seen the highest arrival figures in the Mediterranean in 2019, that is 28,200. According to Moroccan data, Rabat has stopped 42,000 migrants from making the crossing from North Africa to Europe.
The EU has formed a strategic partnership with Morocco, extending €140 million in assistance to facilitate the fight against irregular migration, with Spain adding an additional €30 million. Rabat and Madrid have also reactivated bilateral repatriation agreements, especially in the case migrants manage to jump the fences at the Spanish Moroccan enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Finally, Spanish search and rescue operations at sea coordinate with the Moroccan Royal Navy, which takes rescued migrants back to their departure point.
Official Moroccan government sources told EL PAÍS that 8,000 people have been rescued at sea. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 208 people have died or disappeared during the crossing to Spain, which is equivalent to 1% of the total who attempt the journey.