• Spain's news in English

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available