Morocco: ‘Europe exaggerates the problem of migration from Africa’

  • October 5, 2018

Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita recently said that Europe exaggerates the problem of migration from Africa.

In an interview published on Wednesday by German daily newspaper “Die Welt”, the minister pointed that the bulk of African migration, 84%, takes place within the African continent. Among migrants in Europe, only 12% come from Africa. He added that there is a political context that makes the problem more serious than it really is.

The minister stressed that the spirit that should govern Europe’s relations with Africa is that of a win-win partnership, without North-South divisions. He said that Europe needs to update its vision of Africa.

“Europe should establish reliable partnerships with its neighbours,” he underlined.

“Countries like Morocco, which are so important for migration and security issues, should play a more significant role. You cannot ask Morocco to help with migration and the fight against terrorism, and treat it as an object,” Bourita said.

In relations with Europe, “We want clarity. Are we real partners or just a neighbour we are afraid of,” he wondered.

Regarding the migration issue, the minister noted that with the closure of the Eastern route via Turkey and Greece and after Rome’s decision to no longer receive migrants, “Morocco is paying for the collateral damage of a situation it has not chosen”.

Morocco considers that migration is a shared responsibility, noted Bourita, recalling that under the national migration policy, the Kingdom has regularized the situation of 50,000 migrants to whom it has granted the right to work, have access to schools and hospitals, at a time when some European countries are bargaining over the reception of 100 or 200 migrants.

Answering a question about a recent decision by the Moroccan authorities to deport migrants outside its borders, the minister said that Morocco cannot accept the proliferation of human trafficking networks on its territory.

“We will never allow our country to be the home of criminal networks. We cannot and will not accept the proliferation of crime hotbeds in forests, for example,” Bourita said.

“Morocco stands in solidarity with those who want to settle in, and is firm with those who want to abuse it,” he underlined.

In response to a question on reception centers, the minister said that Morocco’s stance is clear on this subject.

“Morocco is against closed centers. This is part of our migration policy and part of a sovereign national position,” noted the minister.

Referring to the economic aspect of the Moroccan African policy, the minister recalled that the country’s approach is based on South-South cooperation and that its economy is connected to that of the continent.

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