• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Spain can't use force to stop migrants: EU

AFP/The Local · 21 Oct 2014, 16:53

Published: 21 Oct 2014 16:53 GMT+02:00

EU Interior Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has warned Spain that it cannot use force to prevent immigrants from crossing the border into its North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The commissioner said that she would not hesitate to take action if she saw clear signs of European laws being broken, reports the Público online new site.

Malmström’s comments on Monday came days after a controversy flared up over a video in which a sub-Saharan migrant is shown being beaten by Civil Guard officers after he climbed the fence separating Morocco from Melilla.

"Border vigilance measures should be proportional and force can only be used when it is necessary and required in order for agents to continue to carry out their duties, to protect their own safety and their lives. Force must not be used as a deterrent against the unauthorised crossing of the border,” the Swedish commissioner said in answer to a question asked in the European Parliament by a Basque Country MEP representing the Bildu party, Josu Juaristi.

But on Tuesday the highest official in Melilla sought to justify the Civil Guard’s performance in recent times pointing out that the rate of assaults on the border fence are double that of last year.  

The head of the Spanish government delegation in the territory, Abdelmalik El Barkani, said the number of massed attempts by desperate migrants to scale the seven-metre (23-foot), triple layer fence separating Melilla from Morocco had surged so far in 2014. "Last year there were 38 attempts overall. So far this year there have been 58, so we can say that at this rate the pressure on the border fence compared to last year has roughly doubled."
 

Spain has demanded more help from the European Union to deal with the flow of migrants who head to Melilla and Ceuta, another Spanish territory bordering Morocco. The two territories have Europe's only land borders with Africa.

Story continues below…

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees voiced alarm after a video filmed by a rights group on October 15 showed Spanish Civil Guard agents beating an immigrant and carrying him back to the Moroccan side. Spanish officials have defended the police, with El Barkani's office insisting they had acted legally. The government has described some of the attempts on the fence as "violent".
 

"The Civil Guard is working in a difficult situation," El Barkani said in comments broadcast on national radio on Tuesday. "When an immigrant acts aggressively, the guards obviously have to use proportional force, as the law allows."

 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How a quiet Barcelona block became a hotbed of protests
Police stand off against protesters in Barcelona. Photo: Conor DeVries.

Journalist and local resident Conor DeVries gives a first-hand account of the riots that have shaken one Barcelona neighbourhood.

Gallery
Ten amazing reasons to visit Spain's Canary Islands
Incredible scenery on the Canary Island of La Gomera. Photo: Till Krech/Flickr

To celebrate Canary Island Day, The Local takes a look at some of the best reasons to visit Spain's most exciting islands.

Four-day metro strike brings travel chaos to Barcelona
File photo of Barcelona Metro. Photo: AFP

Metro workers are striking from Monday until Thursday.

Gibraltar leader fears Spain sovereignty push over Brexit
Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Spain may try to force the issue of joint sovereignty with Britain over Gibraltar in the event of a Brexit, the territory's chief minister said in an interview aired on Saturday.

What's on in Spain: June 2016
The Battle of Wine festival. Photo: AFP

Spaniards celebrate the arrival of summer with a month of festivals, concerts, and fairs.

Real Madrid come home to ecstatic crowds in capital
"How can I not love you!," shouted the ecstatic crowd at the Plaza de Cibeles. Photo: AFP

Thousands of Real Madrid fans chanted and waved supporter scarves under a rain of confetti on Sunday in the Spanish capital as the team returned home after an historic 11th European Cup win.

Real Madrid 'win lottery' to land Champions League title
Ronaldo posing with the trophy on Saturday night. Photo: AFP

Real Madrid striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, said penalties are just a game of chance after scoring the winning spot-kick to give Real Madrid an 11th Champions League crown on Saturday.

Spaniards hold 'march of dignity' ahead of new polls
The march was the latest in a series of protests which began on March 22 and has gathered support from around the country. Photo: AFP

A month ahead of a general election, thousands of disgruntled Spaniards attended a "march of dignity" Saturday demanding "bread, work and shelter" and an end to "neo-liberal policies imposed by Brussels".

Spain arrests seven over stolen Bacon paintings
Francis Bacon's 'Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror' is auctioned in New York City in 2012. Photo: AFP

Spanish police said Saturday they had arrested seven people suspected of involvement in the theft of five paintings worth €25 million ($27.8 million) by renowned British artist Francis Bacon.

Colombia rebels free Spanish journalist
Salud Hernandez-Mora talking to journalists after her release. Photo: AFP

The Colombian rebel group ELN freed a prominent Spanish-Colombian journalist and two local TV reporters Friday after holding them for nearly a week.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
Stunning cave paintings found 300 metres below Spain
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Five good reasons why Extremadura should be on your bucket list
Lifestyle
Top Ten: Barcelona's coolest rooftop bars
National
Plane forced to dodge THREE drones to land in Bilbao
National
Spain launches campaign to stop English 'invasion'
Culture
Ten unique Basque words you need to learn right now
National
'It’s time to dig up Franco' say victims of Spain's dictatorship
Lifestyle
'Severe jellyfish stings' end Brit's Spanish swim feat
Sport
5 reasons why Spanish clubs dominate European football
International
Tesco to bring British tea and biscuits to Spanish stores
Culture
Bucket list: 16 brilliant things to do once in your life in Spain
National
Spain's Civil War victims to be exhumed from Franco's tomb
National
Two mums face jail for leaving kids in car to go out drinking
Education
Students at Spanish college forced to take exorcism class
National
Ten superb reasons why you need to visit San Sebastián
Society
Abused wife saved by hiding SOS note in son's homework
National
Look up! Rare meteor shower set to dazzle skies over Spain
Politics
Why Spain is heading for a Groundhog day election
Travel
Ibiza bans drinking in street… and that includes water
National
Expats didn't 'abandon' UK so ALL Brits should get EU vote
Features
What's on in Spain: May 2016
Travel
Discover Spain's breathtaking national parks
3,353
jobs available