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Brussels, 19 October 2005

Visit to Ceuta and Melilla – Mission Report
Technical mission to Morocco on illegal immigration
7th October– 11th October 2005


This report has been prepared following a Commission technical mission to Morocco and visit to Ceuta and Melilla between 7 October and 11th October 2005.

The Commission would like to express its gratitude to the Moroccan and Spanish Authorities for their invitation, openness and efforts, thanks to which the mission was successful.

The technical mission had three principal aims:

  • to assess and better understand the size and characteristics of illegal migration from Africa via Morocco to the EU
  • to assess the situation at the Northern border of Morocco, in particular the present state of illegal immigration channels by sea and via the land borders and
  • to listen to Moroccan and Spanish authorities about their ideas for measures which could intensify the cooperation between the EU and Morocco in preventing and combating illegal migration.

The technical mission did not seek to investigate the recent tragic incidents in Ceuta and Melilla nor did it aim to assess the ways that border management is carried out by Morocco or Spain.


1. Introduction

1.1. Scope of the mission

A technical mission of the Commission services accompanied by a representative of the European border agency visited Ceuta and Melilla and had talks with Spanish and Moroccan authorities as a direct response to the tragic events that have occurred in recent days. The objective was to get a first view of the current migration situation especially in the north of Morocco and to explore ways in which the EU might assist in addressing this serious situation. This mission did not seek to formulate a formal assessment of the control the EU external borders, as this is a Spanish responsibility nor did it aim to investigate the tragic events in Ceuta and Melilla or to control Morocco’s efforts in the management of its borders.

This mission managed to make a first useful assessment of the extent of the problems and listened to both the Moroccan and Spanish authorities on the possibilities for strengthened cooperation.

1.2. Programme of visits

On 7 October, consultations were held with the Spanish authorities in Madrid. The city of Melilla was visited on 8 October and that of Ceuta on 9 October. Both in Ceuta and Melilla, the mission had meetings with the Governor and representatives of the Border Authorities responsible for the management of the external borders. The mission also undertook field trips in Ceuta and Melilla which enabled it to get a clear understanding of the present situation. The mission met with representatives of the Moroccan central authorities in Rabat on 11 October. A meeting with a representative of UNHCR in Morocco was convened on 11 October. The technical mission also had a meeting with the Spanish Ambassador to Morocco the same day.


The general assessment of the mission is as follows: both Morocco and the EU are confronted with mounting migration pressure from Africa. This pressure is likely to increase in the coming years.

Both Morocco and Spain are making serious efforts to control this phenomenon, but there is an urgent need for the EU to increase its efforts and provide substantial assistance, including in political and diplomatic terms to make these efforts sustainable and effective in the longer term.

The EU response should include: 1) intensified cooperation with and assistance to Morocco, 2) the launch of dialogue and cooperation with Algeria, 3) the urgent development of a comprehensive migration policy for the main countries of origin and transit in sub-Saharan Africa. Detailed suggestions for concrete initiatives are presented in this report.

During its stay in Morocco the technical mission was informed of the presence of a large group of about a hundred migrants found in the desert between Morocco and Algeria and that these people were in a serious situation. The mission immediately contacted the Commission services responsible for humanitarian assistance to ensure that they were aware of this situation and would respond in the event that a request for assistance were to be received.


Demographically, the African continent is growing quickly. Africa had 221 million inhabitants in 1950 (8.7% of the world population); the figure is now 800 million (13.5% of world population). Projections foresee a population of 1.3 billion in 2025 and 1.75 billion in 2050. Economic growth has not matched demographic growth, and so hundreds of millions of Africans live in poverty. In 2001, 46.4% of the Sub-Saharan population lived on less than US$ 1 a day. Moreover, Africa is confronted with large scale environmental degradation which causes many people to leave their homes. In addition, we cannot exclude that there will remain a number of conflicts on the African continent or that conjectural events such as last year’s locust invasion in the Sahel region will urge people to seek refuge outside their countries of origin. Misery and fear are pushing people out of their regions of origin in search of a better life in more stable and developed regions, first among them Europe. Therefore, in the medium term, it is expected that migration pressure will further increase.

Illegal migration from sub-Saharan Africa has risen sharply recently. The large-scale and coordinated attempts to enter Ceuta and Melilla are a new phenomenon that is a clear indication of the mounting migration pressure on Morocco and Europe. It is also reasonable to conclude that the efforts of Morocco and Spain to patrol the access to the coasts of the Canary Islands and Europe have increased pressure on migrants to try to find other ways of entering the European soil. Ceuta and Melilla appear to be one of the alternatives. Due to increased co-operation between Spanish and Moroccan authorities as well as the application of the S.I.V.E. (surveillance) System, the number of illegal immigrants reaching the Spanish coasts (Canary Islands and Mainland) from Africa by boat has decreased by 37% in comparison with last year (January-August). In particular, the number of ‘pateras’ (boats) arriving at Spanish coasts in the first 8 months of this year was 279 (412 in 2004); the number of illegal migrants who were apprehended travelling in ‘pateras’ this year was 6,361 (10,042 in 2004). The sudden high influx towards the land borders of Ceuta and Melilla could therefore be seen partly as a result of a displacement effect. One of the main routes used by Sub Saharan nationals trying to reach Ceuta and Melilla, leads from the Gulf of Guinea and Sahel region via Algeria (Tamanrasset) and Oudja in Morocco. (More information on migration and related subjects is presented in the first annual report on Mediterranean Migration of the Euro-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM). The CARIM website is )

In this context it should be noted that according to Spanish information sources around 20,000 immigrants are waiting in Algeria (in addition to approximately another 10,000 immigrants in Morocco) to start their journey to reach Ceuta and Melilla. As a result there are clear indications that the present high migratory pressure towards these external borders is likely to increase in the short term.

Statistics provided by the Spanish authorities on the citizenship of illegal immigrants apprehended in Spanish territorial waters between January and September 2004 show that the main Sub-Saharan countries of origin were: Mali (1,860 immigrants), Gambia (1,094), Guinea (332), Cote d’Ivoire (226), Ghana (220), Sudan (202), Liberia (173), Mauritania (171), Nigeria (163) and Guinea Bissau (158). Moreover the Spanish authorities reported that in 2004 429 Moroccans were apprehended in Melilla while seeking to enter the EU territory. For Ceuta the figure for 2004 is 681.

Dialogue and cooperation with sub-Saharan countries is very weak or non-existent, with the exception of Nigeria. Figures also indicate that there have been a remarkable increase in numbers of migrants from South East Asia in the region. For instance, 130 irregular migrants from India and Bangladesh were apprehended early in 2005 by the Mauritanian police (they seem to have flown from New Delhi to Bamako in Mali) and 146 Indian nationals were found crossing by sea into Spain illegally in the first nine months of 2004. However, despite the presence of South Asian migrants, the essential problem lies with Sub Saharan citizens.

Trafficking and smuggling of people is spreading and organized criminal gangs are increasing in numbers and becoming both more “professional” and increasingly violent.

The situation is causing serious human suffering and international humanitarian organisations are under serious strain to cope with it.

Spain is making a major effort to reinforce the control of the external borders and is making a serious effort to provide humanitarian assistance for those who were injured during the recent mass attempts to enter Ceuta and Melilla.

Migration pressure on Morocco is acute. As noted above, Morocco is making substantial efforts to tackle the problem of illegal migration by sea and this has shown results in the decrease in illegal crossings to the Canary Islands and Spain by sea. 17,252 irregular migrants, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa were apprehended by the authorities in 2004.[1] A number of smuggling or trafficking gangs have also been dismantled thanks to these efforts (426 in 2004, according to the Moroccan authorities). The immediate consequence of the Moroccan effort to improve the external sea border appears however to have been that Morocco is confronted with increasing numbers of illegal migrants on its territory.

Main travel routes to Morocco go through its neighbour Algeria. This country could play an important role in preventing illegal migration and combating the trafficking and smuggling in human beings. Dialogue and cooperation between Morocco and Algeria should be seen as an important tool in promoting a strategy permitting the EU to combat illegal migration effectively.

There are doubts as to whether Morocco is able to offer in practice effective protection to all those seeking protection inside its territory. Despite the existence of governing legislation, no appellate authority for hearing refugee claims appears to have been established and there remains some confusion as to the correct procedure for claiming asylum. UNHCR has been represented in Casablanca since 2002 but the practical implementation of refugee protection remains problematic.

At the meeting with the mission representatives, UNHCR has expressed its concerns about the way the 1951 Geneva Convention is applied in Morocco, especially in recent weeks where Morocco, according to UNHCR, has started to deport many sub-Saharan nationals, some of whom have the status of asylum seekers or were already recognised by UNHCR as in need of international protection. Although no exact figures were made available to the technical mission, it is estimated on the basis of the information provided by the UNHCR representative that only a relatively low percentage of people entering Morocco would be found to require international projection as laid down in the 1951 Geneva Convention after a status determination procedure. According to UNHCR statistics, in 2004 there were 177 applications for asylum but no positive decisions were granted during that year[2].


Ceuta and Melilla are situated on the North Western Mediterranean coast of the African continent, approximately 300 km apart from each other. They border on the Moroccan provinces of Tetuan and Nador respectively.

With the accession of Spain to the Schengen Agreement in 1991, special provision was made for allowing for continuation of the bilateral local border traffic agreements between Spain concerning Ceuta and Melilla and the neighbouring Moroccan provinces. At the same time, Spain continues to carry out controls on persons travelling from these two towns to mainland Spain to ensure that they satisfy the conditions laid down in Article 5 of the 1990 Convention.

The external land border of Melilla is characterised by an approximately 10.5 km double border fence divided into three sectors. The outer fence has a height of 3.5 metres; the inner fence reaches 6 metres in some places. Both fences are equipped with barbed wire in order to prevent illegal immigrants from climbing the fence. The installed surveillance system consists of 106 fixed cameras for video surveillance and an additional microphone cable as well as infra-red surveillance. In case of alarm, an immediate response is guaranteed by a 24 hrs operations centre at the Guardia Civil HQ. As a reaction to the latest incidents helicopters are used to carry out additional border surveillance by air supporting the measures on the ground. In total 331 policemen (273 in 2002) and 676 Guardia Civil officers (579 in 2002) are deployed in Melilla[3].

At the external land border of Ceuta (7.8 km of double border fence, divided into three sectors) 316 policemen and 626 Guardia Civil officers are currently deployed. Except for 37 installed movable cameras along this border line, the technical equipment used for border surveillance is the same as in Melilla. In addition, helicopters are used for surveillance of the external border after the recent massive attacks. So far this year around 11,000 attempted illegal border crossing were registered at that border line.

During its two day visit to Ceuta and Melilla, the technical mission of the Commission met with representatives of the Spanish authorities responsible for control and surveillance of the external borders and was informed about the current state of illegal immigration from Morocco into Spanish territory. In Ceuta and Melilla the technical mission was not able to meet with the local Moroccan authorities and services. Yet, the mission did manage to get an impression of the ongoing efforts of the Moroccan side. At the external borders in Ceuta and Melilla, a significant decrease in illegal immigration of approximately 40% had been recorded by the Spanish authorities up to the end of August 2005 as compared with the previous year. However, this decreasing trend in total figures has been broken from September 2005. In addition, the level of physical force used by illegal immigrants when scaling the perimeters in their attempt to enter Spanish territory has escalated. This has so far resulted in major damages to the border fences as well as minor injuries sustained by Spanish border guards. More importantly, a number of illegal immigrants are reported to have died since mid-September when trying to cross the border (some reports put this figure at 13). The Commission has been informed by the Spanish government that a judicial investigation is underway in a court in Ceuta into the deaths of two migrants on the Spanish side of the border on 29th September.

Currently the groups composed of persons of the same nationality, ethnic origin or the language group gather at daytime in the forests near to the border. Based on the latest experiences of the Guardia Civil these groups merge into one large group of a few hundred people during the night in order to climb the border fences using self-made wooden and rope ladders.

The Guardia Civil assumes that this modus operandi is not the result of strategic planning by organised facilitation groups but a spontaneous, albeit coordinated, action by the illegal immigrants. The fact that these attempts occur in the autumn could also be related to the approaching winter season.

As a short term measure, the Spanish authorities have increased the number of deployed border personnel including units of the armed forces. Besides that, the height of the inner border fence will be increased up to 6 metres along the whole border line. Additionally, artificial obstacles will be installed in front of the outer border fence in order to make access to the border fences more difficult with the aim of increasing safety and reducing the aggressive assaults on the border. The Moroccan authorities have in the last week started to clear their side of the border, both in Melilla and Ceuta, of vegetation, thereby depriving the illegal immigrants of means to hide from the border guards while approaching the outer fence. The Spanish authorities expressed their appreciation for the cooperation with the Moroccan authorities in the efforts to better control the borders.

Another way of entering the Spanish enclaves illegally is by sea, either by boat or by swimming around the fences where these reach into the sea. Due to the strong currents in the waters in the enclaves, this modus operandi is considered extremely dangerous.

Spanish authorities have identified the majority of illegal immigrants involved in the last attempts as nationals of Sub Saharan origin. On 13 October 2005 the total number of residents in the Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes (Short-stay Immigrant Centre, hereinafter referred to as C.E.T.I.) of Melilla reached 1,135 of whom 896 were believed to be of Sub Saharan origin. Out of 682 migrants present in the C.E.T.I. of Ceuta on 13 October 2005, 320 were believed to be Sub Saharan, 264 Indian and 75 Bangladeshi.

It should be noted that the capacity of both reception centres has been put under severe strain following recent arrivals. The technical mission visited the reception centres in both Melilla and Ceuta and was convinced of the many efforts of the Spanish authorities to ensure the humane and dignified treatment of those in these centres.


The recent mass attempts to enter Ceuta and Melilla and the preliminary results of the technical mission underline the urgency of stepping up EU efforts to combat illegal migration coming from Africa towards the EU. These findings confirm the assessment made in the Hague programme adopted by the European Council on 4 and 5 November 2004 that insufficiently managed migration flows can result in humanitarian disasters. The EU should aim to intensify cooperation with all states concerned, so as to avoid further loss of lives and human suffering and bring illegal migration under control. The respect for international commitments with regard to human rights and the protection of the most vulnerable groups should be the basis for such a policy.

In this approach it needs to be recognized that illegal migration is a truly European problem. Migrants who make it into Spanish territory will, in many cases, move on to other member states and no policy by one Member State will be sufficient as migration is, by definition, of a transnational nature. As underlined by the Hague programme there is a need for intensified cooperation and capacity building with the transit countries on the southern borders of the EU to enable these countries to better manage migration and to provide adequate protection for refugees. It should be underlined that support will be provided to those countries that demonstrate a genuine commitment to fulfilling their obligations under the Geneva Convention on refugees. In its approach, the EU should also have regard to the interests of partners like Morocco and the other countries of origin and transit in Africa.

The comprehensive approach which is required includes short, medium and long-term measures and should distinguish between asylum issues and migration for economic reasons whilst ensuring that the basic human rights of all migrants, regardless of their legal situation, are respected. Use should be made of all instruments at our disposal ranging from law enforcement, economic cooperation, trade, conflict prevention and resolution, humanitarian assistance to development assistance. The tragic events in Ceuta and Melilla also have made it clear that fences – however high these may be – will, under current circumstances, not stop desperate people from trying to enter the EU territory.

5.1. Cooperation with Morocco

Before turning to the potential for intensification, it is worth noting the extensive history
of cooperation with Morocco on a wide range of issues.

5.1.1. Existing cooperation with Morocco

Within the framework of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, a comprehensive dialogue was launched on migration issues as from 2002. It is based on mutually agreed objectives and priorities, and on joint responsibility and shared interests.

Besides this structured global agenda, which comprises for example discussions on opportunities for legal migrants, visa facilitation and negotiations on a readmission agreement between Morocco and the European Community, this dialogue also identifies targeted technical assistance and exchanges of expertise with Morocco.

The EC has already provided substantial assistance to Morocco in various sectors but the cooperation should be intensified. The EU should aim to reinforce its partnership with Morocco in addressing migration which represents an enormous problem for all countries concerned.

Cooperation should be intensified both by speeding up the implementation of the existing policy framework, including the action plan recently agreed within the framework of the European neighbourhood policy and by taking new initiatives.

5.1.2. Possible EU response

During the meeting on 11 October, the Moroccan authorities sent a clear message that Morocco is making significant efforts to control illegal migration, but that until now it has not received any tangible support from the EU in this area. Current efforts deployed by Morocco cannot be sustained for long if substantial assistance EU is not provided by the EU. According to the Moroccan side it will be difficult for the Moroccan authorities to continue the implementation of this policy in the event that Morocco is viewed by its domestic public opinion as the only serious actor in the fight against illegal migration, while others (European Union, Algeria and sub-Saharan countries in particular) remain less involved. In a spirit of shared responsibility, Morocco urges the EU to provide substantial assistance to help them maintain their border management efforts. Such assistance would include financial support, equipment and expertise.

  • The Commission has agreed with Morocco a € 40 m project to reinforce border control by way of making equipment and training available. This project could be extended to make available to Morocco a S.I.V.E-like system. One of the complaints from the Moroccan side was the long timeframes in the implementation of this project. The Commission has undertaken to speed up the practical implementation of this project. To this end, Member State experts have arrived in Morocco in recent days. It is recommended that the FRONTEX Agency would also be involved in the implementation of this project.

Although an exact date for the provision of equipment cannot yet be indicated with certainty at this stage, it is clear that the Moroccan side requires a clear time frame for the implementation of this project, within the framework of applicable EC financial rules, including an indication as to when equipment is likely to become available.

  • Intensifying the focus on the control of the eastern and southern borders of Morocco. The Commission could send a technical mission in the coming weeks which should also involve experts from the FRONTEX Agency to discuss with Moroccan experts how the EU could help reinforce the control of these borders. It should be clear, however, that any serious programme would require adequate financial support from the EC.
  • Concluding the negotiations on the EC readmission agreement before the end of the year. From a Moroccan point of view, it should be noted that such agreement would have little added value if not coupled with similar agreements with neighbouring countries (Algeria) and the main sub-Saharan countries of origin and transit (article 13 Cotonou agreement; see below). Within the context of the readmission, technical and financial assistance should be provided to ensure respect for international human rights standards by Morocco when implementing the forthcoming agreement with the EC. There will also need to be assurances that any person returned to his/her country of origin either does not have (or no longer has) a valid claim for international protection.
  • Training is being provided to Moroccan border agents as part of a twinning project due to start in the coming weeks. However, the EU should explore, in close cooperation with Morocco, the possibilities for further training of border guards and other services responsible for migration management and the FRONTEX Agency should be asked to establish a comprehensive programme. Other issues such as training and awareness raising on protection issues should also be addressed in the future. In particular, it is recommended that the training efforts would also include a component addressing ways of identifying people in need of international protection.
  • In order to assist Morocco in its efforts to meet its obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention, the EU should provide further assistance to Morocco in the implementation of this convention, also in the light of the progress made in the implementation of the EC financed UNHCR project to build capacity in asylum and related issues in five North African countries including Morocco. The EU would need to take initiatives at the political level to ensure that Morocco will be ready to take on its obligations.
  • Assisting Morocco in combating trafficking in and smuggling of human beings, also by providing assistance to those who are victims of these serious crimes. The EU should offer expertise in this area.
  • At the request of the Moroccan authorities, additional funds of up to €15 million could also be envisaged for twinning operations in 2006.
  • From a regional perspective, an additional €15 million is planned for 2006 for the second phase of the MEDA JAI programme. It should be explored how this regional programme could also benefit the Moroccan policy makers in managing migration, especially from sub-Saharan countries, and involve other key “players” such as Algeria and Egypt. In this respect the possibility of transforming the Consortium Euro-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM) into a Study centre on migration that would study the migration phenomenon in all its dimensions in sub-Saharan and North African countries would need to be explored.

As regards the new financial perspectives, Morocco is already engaged in discussions with Commission with a view to identifying the priorities for our future bilateral cooperation during 2007. Within this context, migration issues should form part of Morocco’s main priorities.

5.2. Cooperation with Algeria

To date, the EU has not had any dialogue with Algeria on migration and related subjects. However, given the recent entry into force of the Association Agreement and the subsequent relaunch of the political dialogue with this country at the EU level, the Commission should investigate the potential to assist Algeria in migration management without further delay. We need to encourage Algeria to assume its responsibility for migration management and the fate of migrants who undergo serious human suffering.

The Commission will approach the Algerian authorities to convene a meeting on these issues as soon as possible. The dialogue with Algeria could also explore the possibilities of reinforced cooperation between this country and Morocco. A trilateral meeting between Morocco, Algeria and the Commission could be considered at some point.

We are not aware of any bilateral cooperation between Morocco and Algeria on migration flows so far. However, the EC should explore ways to support Algeria and Morocco in sharing responsibility for border management. The fact that this border has not been agreed between the two countries certainly will not facilitate this dialogue. However, Algeria should be encouraged to increase its efforts in the management of its borders, including with Morocco and should be supported to this end as this issue is, by nature, a joint responsibility. Furthermore, Algeria should be encouraged to initiate action to avoid humanitarian crises of people left stranded in the desert.

  • Search and rescue in the desert should be one of the themes to be discussed.
  • Seeking cooperation between the Algerian authorities and the FRONTEX Agency on training of border guards. Such training could also include a mutual trust building component at practitioners’ level with Moroccan border guards.
  • To foster Maghreb regional cooperation on migration, a €10 million project could be used to support similar twinning operations with Algeria.
  • The EC should explore with the Algerian side the possibilities for opening negotiations on an EC readmission agreement with this country.

5.3. Initiatives in a multilateral framework

5.3.1. African Union

  • Migration issues should be on the agenda of the cooperation between the European Union and the President of the African Union. The aim should be to develop a common EU-AU work programme on migration and related subjects. Such a programme should be prepared on the occasion of the AU-EU Troika that will be held on 1 and 2 December 2005 and which will seek to identify a number on concrete initiatives aimed at better managing migration and tackling illegal migration and trafficking in and smuggling of human beings.[4]

5.3.2. Engage with countries of origin

  • In order to be successful, the Foreign Affairs dimension of the EU migration policy is vital and needs urgent development. The General Affairs Council is expected to discuss external migration policy on 21 November. The GAREC should adopt conclusions setting political guidelines for a concrete programme for engagement with the main sub-Saharan countries of origin.
  • The EU should take action towards the main countries of origin in Sub-Saharan Africa. In a first phase the EU should discuss migration issues with Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, DR Congo and Ivory Coast before spring 2006 on the basis of article 13 of the Cotonou agreement. Besides the wider agenda which should cover subjects like legal migration, migration and development, providing international protection in a spirit of joint responsibility, integration and anti-discrimination, subjects like return and readmission also need to be part of these discussions. Once the necessary preconditions are met, it could be considered that an EU mission could be sent to these main countries of origin.
  • It is suggested that the Immigration Liaison Officers (ILO’s) of Members States present in the countries indicated would prepare a report on the migration situation in these countries and would propose recommendations for actions to better manage migration and fight illegal immigration in particular. In this respect the establishment of an ILO’s network in West Africa should be given serious consideration.
  • It is recommended that the EU would explore possibilities to ensure that the return of those sent back to their countries of origin is effected in a sustainable and dignified manner.

5.3.3. The Barcelona process

  • The 10th Anniversary Summit taking place within the framework of the Barcelona process 27 and 28 November should also have migration high on its agenda. It is hoped that the Summit will adopt the initiatives for increased EUROMED cooperation on migration and will then proceed to agree concrete steps to ensure an approach to migration that properly reflects the pan-African nature of the challenge.
  • Establishing a regional process where main African countries of origin and transit and the EU countries would meet on a regular basis should be explored. The idea of a Ministerial meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in such a regional context and a permanent dialogue by senior officials should be considered. A balanced agenda that takes account of the various interests could be developed together with mechanism that would allow regular reporting on progress made.
  • EU should support important regional initiatives which are now burgeoning in various frameworks, such as the 5+5 dialogue on migration in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The meeting in November of the 5+5 should try to adopt a set of concrete measures in the field of migration management that could be implemented in the short term.


7th October– 11th October 2005

Friday 7 October. Meeting with Spanish authorities in Madrid

Saturday 8 October Visit to Melilla, including a meeting with the Governor and authorities responsible for the border controls and a field trip to the external border and reception centre

Sunday 9 October Visit to Ceuta, including a meeting with the Governor and the authorities responsible for the border controls and a field trip to the external border and reception centre

Monday 10 October Meeting with Moroccan representatives inRabat

Meeting with UNHCR representative in Morocco

Meeting with the Spanish Ambassador to Morocco

Tuesday 11 October Return to Brussels



1. Data on illegal maritime crossings towards Spanish coasts[5]


Year 2004 (1 Jan – 31 Aug)
Year 2005 (1 Jan – 31 Aug)
Boats (‘pateras’)
Apprehended occupants
Apprehended smugglers
Rescued persons
Disappeared persons


2004 (Jan-Aug)
2005 (Jan-Aug)
Variation (absolute/percentage)
Apprehended occupants
Apprehended smugglers


2004 (Jan-Aug)
2005 (Jan-Aug)
Variation (absolute/percentage)
Apprehended occupants
Apprehended smugglers

2. Development of the SIVE system (Integrated system for the control of the Spanish maritime borders) between 2004-2008[6]

End 2005
End 2008
Fixed stations
Mobile supervision units
13 in 2006
Patrol boats (+ 30 metres) for the high sea
Medium-sized fast boats
Light patrol boats

3. Apprehensions of illegal immigrants in Morocco[7]


* This is composed for 90% of Sub Saharan migrants; the rest is Algerian and South Asian.

** The decrease in apprehensions in 2004 is due to the reinforcement of the fight against smuggling gangs

*** During the months of January and February 2005, 4,304 apprehensions were reported (508 Moroccans and 3,796 foreigners)

4. Occupation of the Temporary reception centres (CETI) in Ceuta and Melilla[8]
Occupation of the CEUTA CETI on 13 October 2005
[Graphic in PDF & Word format]
Occupation of the Melilla CETI on 13 October 2005

[Graphic in PDF & Word format]

5. Characteristics of Sub Saharan irregular immigrants[9]

Educational level (survey of 95 Sub Saharan irregular migrants)

Number of migrants
Level of studies
No education
Primary school
Koranic school (
Technical education
Secondary school
University studies or equivalent

Route used to reach Morocco (Survey of 95 Sub Saharan irregular migrants)

By land border with Algeria (Oudja)
By land (Southern Moroccan border)

[1] Data contained in the CARIM report “Mediterranean Migration -2005”

[2] Source: UNHCR

[3] Source: Spanish Ministry of Interior

[4] NB : Morocco is not a member of the AU

[5] Source : Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

[6] Source : Article from newspaper ‘El Pais’ quoted in the CARIM report ‘Les Migrations irrégulières entre le Maghreb et l’Union européenne: evolutions récentes’ by Mehdi Lahlou, available at

[7] Source : Moroccan Ministry of Interior ; this data is included in the CARIM report ‘Mediterranean Migration 2005’, available at

[8] Source : Spanish Ministry of Interior

[9] Source : CARIM report ‘Les Migrations irrégulières entre le Maghreb et l’Union européenne: evolutions récentes’ by Mehdi Lahlou, available at

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