Spain spends mil­lions on fence to seal off its Moroc­can ter­ri­tory

Waikato Times - - WORLD -

SPAIN: Spain is for­ti­fy­ing its bor­der fences fol­low­ing a surge in ar­rivals at its ter­ri­to­ries in north Africa, while Italy has been forced to scrap a bill giv­ing pass­ports to mi­grant chil­dren be­cause of pub­lic hos­til­ity.

Mi­grants have used clubs, metal cut­ters and hooks to break through two six-me­tre-high fences in Ceuta, one of two Span­ish cities that bor­der Morocco, con­tribut­ing to an 88 per cent rise this year in the to­tal num­ber try­ing to en­ter Spain. In­te­rior Min­is­ter Juan Ig­na­cio Zoido said the gov­ern­ment would spend nearly €13.3 mil­lion (NZ$21.8m) on the new de­fences af­ter al­most 9000 peo­ple, mostly from sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, tried to force their way into Ceuta, com­pared with 613 in the same pe­riod in 2016.

Zoido said there had been a surge in or­gan­ised at­tempts to break through bor­der fences or storm fron­tier posts in Ceuta, which with Melilla, an­other Span­ish city, rep­re­sents the only land bor­der be­tween Africa and Europe.

De­spite the num­ber of sail­ings to Italy from Libya slow­ing this sum­mer, 100,000 mi­grants have made it this year af­ter 181,000 sailed last year, caus­ing disquiet which is be­ing en­cour­aged by right-wing par­ties as Italy pre­pares for elec­tions due to be held by next May. In a sur­vey pub­lished yes­ter­day by La Repub­blica, 46 per cent of Ital­ians said they saw mi­grants as a ‘‘threat to pub­lic or­der and per­sonal safety’’, up from 26 per cent in 2012.

Fear­ing that it did not have enough votes in par­lia­ment, the rul­ing cen­tre-left Demo­cratic Party scrapped a bill yes­ter­day that would have granted Ital­ian cit­i­zen­ship at birth to the chil­dren of mi­grants born in Italy if they had a par­ent who had lived in the coun­try for five years. At present, they must wait un­til they are 18 to ap­ply for an Ital­ian pass­port. The new rules would have al­lowed about 800,000 mi­nors to ap­ply for cit­i­zen­ship.

Claim­ing vic­tory af­ter the bill was dropped, Mat­teo Salvini, the leader of the anti-mi­grant North­ern League, said ‘‘cit­i­zen­ship is not a gift’’. A poll re­vealed that 48 per cent of Ital­ian vot­ers agreed with him, a rise from just 20 per cent in 2014.

When one of Italy’s most pop­u­lar TV shows, Striscia La No­tizia, an­nounced this week that it had hired a half-An­golan, half-Afghan show­girl, its web­site was bom­barded with racist com­ments. The 23-year-old dancer has lived in Italy since she was 6. - The Times

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

A satel­lite im­age shows Ceuta, an au­ton­o­mous city of Spain on the north coast of Africa and favoured route to Europe for many mi­grants.

PHOTO: REUTERS

African mi­grants lie ex­hausted af­ter cross­ing the bor­der from Morocco to Spain’s North African en­clave of Ceuta.

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