Moroccan-Spanish Permanent Joint Migration Group Holds 21st Meeting in Madrid

The Moroccan-Spanish Permanent Joint Migration Group held its 21st meeting in Madrid on Friday, during which both parties discussed the migration partnership in its entirety, the Ministry of the Interior said in a statement. The meeting was co-chaired by Khalid Zerouali, Wali Director of Migration and Border Surveillance, and Isabel Castro Fernández, Spanish Secretary of State for Migration, in the presence of Rafael Pérez Ruiz, Secretary of State for Security, Angeles Moreno Bau, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Karima Benyaich, Ambassador of His Majesty the King in Spain. With regard to operational cooperation, the Spanish side expressed its thanks for the large-scale efforts made by the Moroccan authorities to combat irregular migration, with tangible results particularly on the Atlantic and Western Mediterranean routes, making the Kingdom a reliable partner and a major player in regional security, according to the same source. In view of the shared challenges posed by the increasingly violent methods used by migrant smuggling networks, and the unstable regional environment, the two parties decided to strengthen their coordination and information exchange mechanisms, in particular through renewing joint working methods at Police Cooperation Centers, liaison officers and joint patrols. With regard to regular migration, the two sides discussed the Moroccan-Spanish model for managing circular mobility and labor, which has a positive track record and represents one of the most solid and successful examples recognized at European and international level, the statement said, adding that the two sides are also committed to continuing to work in this direction and to establishing new avenues for strengthening cooperation prospects in order to encourage controlled legal flows, in coordination with all operators and stakeholders. Regarding the issue of unaccompanied minors, the Moroccan side recalled the High Royal Instructions for the repatriation of all duly identified Moroccan minors. The two parties agreed to continue to focus on the best interests of the minor, notably through prevention, protection and concerted return. In this respect, they examined a draft procedural outline for the return of minors, backed by all legal guarantees and respecting international commitments. On the other hand, the two parties praised the contribution of the Moroccan community in Spain and its plural contribution as a vector of cultural and civilizational rapprochement. Both parties also reaffirmed their commitment to regional and triangular cooperation on migration issues. In this respect, they will strengthen dialogue and close coordination during Morocco’s presidency of the Rabat Process in 2023, and the thematic meeting on humanized border management that both parties will co-chair in Marrakech on June 22-23, 2023. It was also agreed to convene a meeting of the migration group’s various ad hoc joint sub-committees in the second half of 2023, to validate sectoral action plans. The Permanent Joint Moroccan-Spanish Migration Group, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is an institutional framework which throughout this period has formed the perennial basis of an exceptional migration partnership between the two countries, supported by concrete actions which today make it a model of North-South cooperation.