Spain this week is asking the European Union for more help in coping with illegal migrants arriving on its shores. Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega’s visits to Helsinki and Brussels This Tuesday and Wednesday come against a backdrop of unprecedented numbers: Over 18,000 migrants have arrived on the Canary Islands this year.
Fernandez de la Vega’s message is that the support currently being offered is not enough. Madrid says it needs more political engagement from its EU partners, and more resources. Spain cannot legally return an immigrant to a country if it has no repatriation treaty or if it cannot determine nationality. Immigrants in these cases who are released have taken a first successful step into European Union territory.