The European Commission supports Spain in the entire migration management process with EU funding and expertise. This includes the deployment of a staff member permanently based in Madrid, alongside the permanent presence of EU agencies (Frontex and EUAA) in the south of Spain and the Canary Islands.
European Commission staff member
The European Commission staff member present in Spain engages with Spanish authorities and makes sure they receive the support they may need to ensure effective migration management. This includes managing the arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers in compliance with EU law and in respect of human rights.
European Border and Coast Guard Agency - Frontex
Frontex supports the Spanish authorities in migration management through four joint operations.
|Joint Operation Indalo||Strait of Gibraltar, Alboran Sea, and Western Mediterranean Sea||Joint Operation Indalo includes sea surveillance and support to SAR operations, border checks, identification and registration of irregular migrants, and the disruption of smuggling operations of migrants.|
|Joint Operation Canary Islands||Archipelago of the Canary Islands||Joint Operation Canary Islands focuses on the identification and registration of irregular migrants.|
|Joint Operation Minerva||Strait of Gibraltar||Joint Operation Minerva, carried out between June and September, focuses on the control and checks of passengers and vehicles crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in the seaports of Algeciras, Ceuta and Tarifa.|
|Joint Operation Focal Points Air||Madrid and Barcelona||Joint Operation Focal Points Air aims at enhancing border security with support provided by Frontex experts in border checks at air borders in the airports of Madrid and Barcelona.|
European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA)
The European Union Agency for Asylum operates in Spain since December 2020. It assists Spanish authorities in strengthening their capacity to manage reception centres, as well as reforming the asylum reception model.
Migration management in action
In 2020, the Canary Island recorded 23 000 irregular arrivals of migrants – a ten-fold increase compared to 2019. Because the increase in arrivals overwhelmed the local reception system, the European Commission granted Spanish authorities over €70 million to manage the situation and to increase the reception capacity on the islands.
The financial support helped create new centres to identify and register migrants and emergency reception facilities with around 6 000 places. Additionally, upon request by Spanish authorities, Frontex deployed teams of experts to the Canary Islands to assist the Spanish Police through a new Joint Operation. Thanks to this support, the situation improved. Even though 2021 recorded a similar number of arrivals (about 22 000) and the trend of arrivals has further increased at the beginning of 2022, the migration management system was better prepared.
On 17 and 18 May 2021, more than 10 000 migrants, including a significant number of unaccompanied minors, crossed the border between Morocco and Ceuta. The European Commission immediately recalled the importance of respecting EU’s external border in Ceuta and stepped up its support to Spanish authorities. It granted €14 million to the City of Ceuta to face the reception needs of nearly 2 000 migrants (1 000 adults and 1 000 unaccompanied minors), who did not return to Morocco, and to help authorities in identifying and assisting the most vulnerable persons.