• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Refugee crisis
Spain fears flood of refugees with closure of Balkan route
Photo: Aris Messins/AFP

Spain fears flood of refugees with closure of Balkan route

Fiona Govan · 11 Mar 2016, 16:12

Published: 11 Mar 2016 16:12 GMT+01:00

"If one door is closed, they will seek other. The (people trafficking) mafias are bad but they are not stupid," Fernández Díaz said in an interview on Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE on Friday.

"Spain should not drop its guard, we need to be prudent," he said.

His comments came on the back of a European summit commitment to send migrants back to Turkey and close the heavily travelled Balkans route leaving thousands in crowded refugee camps in Greece. 

"So far the western Mediterranean route has been talked about because Spain is doing its job," stated the minister, but this could change if the EU is unable to develop an "immigration policy and comprehensive asylum policy that tackles the cause of the problem .

"If we do not cooperate with the countries of origin, we have not solved the problem; we will have plugged and patched the problem but not solved it," he said.

Spain has now been spared the huge number of refugees fleeing Syria that have turned up on shores in Greece, where more than 130,000 migrants have arrived so far this year.

Although an increasing number of arrivals at the borders in Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s north African enclaves bordering Morocco, are Syrian refugees.

Spain’s caretaker government has agreed to support the EU plan for refugees despite the issue not being put before parliament because an acting government is not subject to parliamentary control.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he will go to the European Council of March 17th to endorse the agreement despite having no cross party support.

Except for the Popular Party, which has only 123 MPs in the 350 seat congress, all other parties have said they do support the European Union’s deal with Turkey to expel refugees.  

On Thursday, Spain said it was willing to take in 450 Syrian and Iraqi refugees from Italy, Greece and Turkey on top of refugee relocation quota it has already agreed to.

Story continues below…

"We have told the European Commission of our willingness to proceed with the immediate relocation of over 250 people from Turkey in a first stage and of another 150 refugees from Greece and a further 50 from Italy," said Fernández Díaz at a press conference in Brussels.

Spain has already agreed to accept 14,931 refugees under a quota scheme devised by the EU in early September. 

Meanwhile in Italy, authorities fear as many as 150,000 migrants could arrive in the region of Puglia from Greece after Serbia and Macedonia closed their borders on Wednesday.

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

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Police backtrack over fine for 'All Cats Are Beautiful' bag
The offending bag and the fine issued over it. Photo: Bélen Lobeto

Police have admitted that perhaps the phrase "All Cats Are Beautiful" isn't quite as offensive as first thought.

Brit historian Mary Beard wins prestigious Spanish award
The award will go nicely with Beard's OBE (pictured above). Photo: John Stillwell/AFP

The British academic is to follow in the footsteps of Sir David Attenborough, Bob Dylan and Margaret Atwood.

Kitesurfer speared through ankle by fish off Costa Blanca
Photo: Marcos Gomez Mora / Juan Antonio Pujol / Cronicas Naturales de Torrevieja

A kitesurfer got a nasty surprise after a freak encounter with a fish off Torrevieja.

British holidaymakers flock to Spain to avoid terror threat
Bookings to Spain are up by a quarter this year. Photo: AFP

More British tourists are set to spend their summer holidays in Spain as demand for sunshine breaks in Tunisia and Egypt declines over fears of violence.

5 reasons why Extremadura should be on your bucket list
Plaza Mayor, Cáceres, Extremadura. Photo: Tomás Fano/Flickr.

It may surprise you to learn that Extremadura has been tipped as one of Europe's top destinations for 2016.

Refugees arrive in Spain (but really want to be in Germany)
The Spanish Secretary of State Security and the Secretary General of Immigration and Emigration greet refugees newly arrived in Madrid. Photo: Spanish Interior Ministry.

Spain welcomed 20 new arrivals this week but some admit they hope it is just a stepping stone to their prefered destination: Germany.

Squatters clash with police over Barcelona bank eviction
Police faced off against protesters on Monday night. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

There were riots for a second night in a row in the Gràcia neighbourhood of the city.

Two more journalists feared kidnapped in rural Colombia
The journalists went missing in northern Colombia. Map: GoogleMaps

They were covering the suspected kidnapping of a Spanish journalist in the region.

Madrid installs anti-diving dumpsters to thwart thieves
Photo: Mikey Wally/Flickr

It is estimated that nearly half of all cardboard and paper deposited in the recycling points is stolen.

Police in Spain baffled over 'Se7en' style double murder
The siblings were found in a room filled with car air fresheners. Photo: Screenshot from the film Seven.

The killer hoped to disguise the smell of the rotting bodies by hanging dozens of air fresheners in the room.

Lifestyle
Top Ten: Barcelona's coolest rooftop bars
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
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
National
Couple caught on camera having sex on metro platform
National
Spain's stunning locations for Game of Thrones Season Six
National
Ten delicious Spanish dishes you must try before you die
3,247
jobs available