Thomas More Institute: Towards a Sustainable Security in the Maghreb – An Opportunity for the Region

The Thomas More Institute has released a report, “Towards a Sustainable Security in the Maghreb –  An Opportunity for the Region, a Commitment for the European Union.”  The report was released on 7 April at the “Maghreb and the European Union: Enhancing the partnership for a sustainable security” conference in Brussels.

From the Executive Summary:  “The relationship between Europe and the Maghreb is a complex, multidimensional and somewhat passionate one. The two areas share a common history and are bound by common interests. United against a number of joint challenges (economic development, regional stability, fight against terrorism, migration, sustainable development), it is time for the two shores of the Mediterranean to reconsider the basis for their cooperation. [***] The EU is well aware of what is at stake and must now look for ways of making a more active commitment in the region, particularly on sensitive issues such as human rights and migration. [***] The question of migration, which extends as far as the Sahelian area, is another area of cooperation which needs to be looked into in more depth, since the EU’s policy of limiting migratory flows can no longer be restricted to the northern border of the Maghreb. Reinforcing the role of the European agency FRONTEX throughout the area, for example by opening regional offices and assigning resources, is one possible solution. Intensifying efforts to coordinate development assistance policies between the EU and Maghreb countries to help Sub-Saharan African countries that represent sources of immigration is another solution that should not be ignored.”

A further excerpt: “A need for increased cooperation between the European Union and the Maghreb – Europe’s policy on migration is based on the principle that the great era of mass migrations is over, replaced by a new international division of labour, whereby a foreign workforce is substituted for the national workforce, and by policies that involve returning and rehabilitating non-Europeans in their countries of origin and internal mobility for Europeans within an area with no interior borders. European countries – and the Community, followed by the EU – concentrated their efforts on border control, in a securitarian view dictated by the migratory risk and concerns about the challenges of integration. Schengen relegated the countries of the Maghreb, and others, to the status of “outsider countries”, with which human circulation is restricted. This logic was maintained by the militarisation of borders which started in 1988 when barriers were built around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, then as of 2002 by the installation of the Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE) around Gibraltar and later along the Spanish coasts – including the Canary isles – comprising twenty-five detection points, a dozen mobile radar and ten or so patrol units. The attacks perpetrated on September 11th reinforced the security component and, following the creation of FRONTEX (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders) in 2005, other areas were militarised, with preventive sea and air patrols in the Mediterranean and even in the Atlantic, near the Canary isles. The EU also provides its members with technical assistance. [***] The Maghreb has made a real effort to contribute and cooperate with the EU in the fight against immigration.  In February 2004, Morocco and Spain started joint patrols and in 2008, cooperation was reinforced by improving controls in the ports of Tangier and Algeciras.  According to the Spanish authorities, the result was an overall drop of 60% in illegal immigration originating in Morocco between 2007 and 2008.  The decrease in illegal Moroccans was reportedly around 38%. However, reinforced controls caused a shift in migratory routes. According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, the number of illegal immigrants arriving in Italy by sea rose by 75% between 2007 and 2008. 14 000 people arrived in Italy illegally in 2007, whereas the figure was in excess of 40 000 in 2008. Following the signature of the Benghazi treaty between Italy and Libya on 30th August 2008, Italy obtained greater assistance from Tripoli in the form of bilateral cooperation on illegal immigration and the application of the December 2007 agreement on joint patrols off the Libyan coasts, plus the installation of radars by Finmeccanica at Libya’s southern borders.”

Click here for full Report.

Main routes of present-day Trans-Saharan migrations

1 Comment

Filed under Algeria, Analysis, Data / Stats, Eastern Atlantic, European Union, Frontex, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Mediterranean, Morocco, Spain

One response to “Thomas More Institute: Towards a Sustainable Security in the Maghreb – An Opportunity for the Region

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