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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the breach of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and the use of minors by the Moroccan authorities in the migratory crisis in Ceuta

8.6.2021 - (2021/2747(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Jorge Buxadé Villalba, Hermann Tertsch, Mazaly Aguilar, Margarita de la Pisa Carrión, Charlie Weimers, Elżbieta Kruk, Adam Bielan, Elżbieta Rafalska, Ryszard Czarnecki, Bogdan Rzońca, Assita Kanko
on behalf of the ECR Group

Postupak : 2021/2747(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the breach of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and the use of minors by the Moroccan authorities in the migratory crisis in Ceuta


The European Parliament,


  Having regard to the statement by European Council President Charles Michel concerning the situation in Ceuta after the Council meeting of 24-25 May 2021,


  having regard to the principle of territorial integrity, as enshrined in Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations,

  having regard to the subsidiarity principle of internal security, as enshrined in Article 2(2j) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU),

  having regard to the Eurodac and Screening proposals of the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, as presented by the European Commission on 23 September 2020,

  having regard to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), N.D. and N.T. v. Spain, nos 8675/15 and 8697/17, paras. 242-243, of 13 February 2020,

  having regard to the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Morocco on the movement of people, the transit and the readmission of foreigners who have entered illegally, of  13 February 1992,


  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,


  having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989,


  having regard to the Refugee Convention of 1951,


  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

  1. whereas Morocco’s location on the African continent as well as on the shore of the Mediterranean basin makes it one of the main countries of origin and transit for illegal migrants to the EU, while it is considered a safe country; 


  1. whereas Morocco is the third largest recipient of EU funds under the European Neighbourhood Policy, receiving €1.4 billion in the period 2014-2020; whereas among its neighbours, the EU’s second largest cooperation portfolio on migration is with Morocco, with a total of 346 million, out of which around 238 million is drawn from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and various other EU financial instruments since 2014;
  2. whereas since between 17-18 May 2021, more than 9,000 of illegal migrants, mostly young men and including around 1,500 minors, crossed into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco by swimming or walking around border fences while Moroccan border forces did not take action to stop such infiltrations; 
  3. whereas more than 6,500 migrations have been sent back to Morocco from Spain;  whereas between 700 and 1,000 unidentified Moroccans currently remain in Ceuta as well as around 1,000 unaccompanied minors; whereas on 1 June, King Mohammed VI of Morocco instructed Morocco’s government to facilitate the re-entry of all unaccompanied but identified Moroccan children who are in the European Union illegally; whereas Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi welcomed the Moroccan Foreign Ministry’s announcement of Morocco’s willingness to facilitate the return of unaccompanied minors;
  4. whereas Morocco’s decision to take in unaccompanied minors came after reports in Spanish media that Morocco was not facilitating the return of migrants in line with previous bilateral cooperation agreements; whereas Morocco’s foreign and interior ministries noted that although Morocco had already worked with EU countries to ensure the return of minors, procedures in some Member States had delayed their return;
  5. whereas Morocco  blackmailed Spain by allowing more than 9,000 illegal migrants from crossing into Ceuta after tensions between the two countries rose over Spain’s decision to provide medical treatment to the Polisario Front separatist militia leader, Brahim Ghali, who suffered complications from a Covid-19 infection; whereas on 2 June 2021, the Polisario Front leader arrived in Algeria;
  6. whereas the number of unaccompanied minors in Spain have been growing in recent years, particularly in the regions of Ceuta, Melilla, Andalusia and Catalonia, which has led to an increase in crime and public insecurity in those areas; whereas all illegal immigration routes from Morocco to Spain have seen historic records of numbers, including the hundreds of illegal immigrants arriving on the coasts of the Canary Islands, Almeria and Cadiz; whereas in 2020, the West African route became the most-used sea route to reach Spain, with ten times as many illegal arrivals compared to the same period the year before;
  7. whereas in the European Court of Human Rights’ judgement of 13 February 2020, in the case N.D. and N.T. v. Spain, the Court ruled that a migrant’s unauthorized entry into Spain when part of a large group may affect that migrant’s protection from mass expulsion, precisely because of the way they entered Spain;
  8.   whereas a negotiating mandate to conclude a readmission agreement with Morocco was granted by the Council to the Commission in 2000; whereas to date no such agreement has been finalised and adopted;
  9.   whereas Spain and Morocco signed a readmission agreement on 13 February 1992, which obliges the border authorities of the requested state to readmit to its territory third-country nationals who have illegally entered the territory of the requesting state;


  1. Condemns the large infiltration of illegal immigrants, including minors, from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta; considers this a severe breach of Spain’s and the EU’s external borders and stresses the need for the EU’s external borders to be reinforced, given that the infiltrations also present a wider security threat to the EU;


  1. Reaffirms its solidarity with Spain in the Ceuta crisis and reminds the government of Morocco to abide by its international agreements, including those between the Kingdom of Morocco and Spain, in the spirit of trust and good neighbourly relations; stresses that any long-term solution will come as a consequence of diplomatic cooperation and a willingness from Morocco to accept citizens who have illegally crossed the border into EU territory;


  1. welcomes the announcement by the Moroccan King Mohammed VI of his instruction to the Moroccan government to definitely settle the issue of unaccompanied Moroccan minors who are in an irregular situation in European countries, including in Ceuta; demands that all unaccompanied minors staying illegally in Spain are returned to their countries and, if possible, be reunited with their families;


  1. Supports the efforts by European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, in seeking to resolve the dispute between Morocco and Spain as well as in his efforts encouraging Morocco to meet the commitments made on migration management, including returns, and advance the bilateral partnership; stresses the need for an EU-Morocco re-admission agreement as soon as possible;


  1. Believes that the current Common European Asylum System is out-dated and needs to be reformed in order to create a long-term solution to a more effective EU asylum and return system; stresses that any EU migration system needs to receive the backing of all Member States and its citizens, including the appropriate financial and technical support;


  1. Stresses the importance of supporting Member States in the protection of the EU’s external borders, including the strengthening of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency FRONTEX, the combatting of abuse of the EU’s asylum system, the need to dismantle migrant trafficking networks as well as the return of those who failed to be recognised as asylum seekers to their country of origin; calls for a quick and significant progress on the New Asylum and Migration Pact, which up until now has not been made;


  1. Strongly supports cooperation with third countries to reach agreements that prevent migrants from making the life-endangering journey across the Sahara and the Mediterranean to the EU; condemns any use of blackmail or the weaponization of migration against the EU and believes that any EU funding to third countries needs to be conditional on honest cooperation;


  1. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Spain and the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco.



Posljednje ažuriranje: 8. lipnja 2021.
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