Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU is struggling to deter illegal migration from Africa despite providing aid to African countries to address the problem, according to Associated Press reporting on Wednesday.
The bloc has set up a trust fund worth 5 billion euro to provide aid to African countries and help them tackle the problem of illegal migration, with Moroccan police reporting they prevented close to 10,000 illegal crossings to Europe in 2020.
In addition, the Moroccan government agreed to take back its nationals deported from the bloc, but many still risk the perilous journey.
Canary route among most dangerous
Six deaths have been reported on the Canary route this year, with European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson noting on Tuesday it is one of the deadliest routes to the bloc and stressing that “we don’t know actually how many lives have been lost.”
According to migration agencies, the trip from Africa to the Canaries can take up to four days and migrants reach the
European Border and Coast Guard Agency data shows that last year crossings reached the highest level since the agency started gathering data in 2009, with Spain sending top officials to Morocco and Senegal in November to discuss plans to deter illegal crossings.
Approximately 22,600 migrants reached the Canary Islands last year, which made Spain the top point of entry for people trying to reach Europe in 2020, according to EU figures. Some 600 deaths and missing people have been recorded on the route.
Moroccan authorities in control of the disputed territory of Western Sahara, encouraged by aid from the EU, are cracking down on human trafficking. The coronavirus crisis is partly to blame for resurgence of the route as many Moroccans depended on tourism.
While people from sub-Saharan Africa accounted for most arrivals in the Canaries in the past, approximately half are Moroccans now.