Spain’s Canary Islands authorities have asked the European Union for more help to tackle a sharp rise in illegal migration. Last year’s arrivals figure has already doubled, to more than 9,500.
Experts from the European Commission, the Canaries and Spain will meet this month to see how much EU development money is available. EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel met the president of the Canaries, Adan Martin Menis. The visitor to Brussels said he wanted the EU to invest more in developing the economies of its African neighbours.
He asked for special help for children making the crossing. “They are very young, aged ten, twelve. We are bound by law to protect them,” he said. He said they needed training, so they could contribute to developing their countries when they went back. “They are magnificent,” he said, “and have enormous capacities.”
An EU official said the EU cannot spend aid funds on such training in Spain, but can help towards returning such children or with providing more programmes in African countries to prevent people from wanting to leave.