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Loles López. Joaquín Corchero / Europa Press
Andalucía opens door to hosting underage migrants while criticising ad-hoc policies and lack of funding from Madrid
Politics

Andalucía opens door to hosting underage migrants while criticising ad-hoc policies and lack of funding from Madrid

Their mass arrival to the Canary Islands has led Spain's central government to demand that the regions already involved in their reception be given an equitable share of these numbers

Héctor Barbotta

Seville

Wednesday, 10 July 2024, 20:19

Opciones para compartir

Andalucía will take on its share in the reception of migrant minors in Spain who have overwhelmed the facilities provided in the Canary Islands, but is demanding the necessary funds from central government to do so as the system currently in operation is already at 115% of its capacity.

The mass arrival of underage migrants to the Canaries has led Spain's central government to demand that the regions already involved in their reception be given an equitable share of these numbers. As one such region, Andalucía will not object to this request, but demands that this should not be done on an ad-hoc basis and that central resources should be provided to a system that is already operating beyond its capacity.

Such is the regional government's position, as presented last Tuesday by the Junta's minister for Social Inclusion, Youth, Families and Equality, Loles López, on the eve of a sectorial conference convened by the island government for Tenerife. She highlighted that Andalucía currently has 645 specific places for underage migrants before any new arrivals materialise, that is 15% above their maximum occupancy. "The [central] government is pushing this system of reception and care for minorsto bursting point," she stated.

López said that the Andalusian community is willing to fulfil its part in receiving its fair share of these young people, but she did not spare her words on criticising central government for the lack of resources available for this task. She also criticised the ad-hoc manner in which, in her opinion, it is tackling the crisis and the lack of institutional loyalty towards the regional governments involved. As an example of this situation, she revealed that the Junta was only informed of the meeting in Tenerife informally, not via the official channels. "This is yet another example of the lack of institutional loyalty with which the government is dealing with this issue and which does not help to reach an agreement."

López accused Sira Rego (Minister of Youth and Children) of "insinuating that the Andalusian people do not show solidarity" and she reminded listeners that the Junta de Andalucía has set up the Víznar centre in Granada to receive migrants transferred from the Canary Islands. "Andalucía also takes in migrant minors from Ceuta through the Response Plan and we are a land with an international border with migrants arriving on our coast", she stressed.

Immigration essential to Andalucía

Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, spokesperson for Andalucía's regional government, also dispelled any doubts regarding the Junta's position on this crisis and said that immigrants not only have to be welcomed, but that they are necessary. "Andalucía needs immigration and this problem needs to be tackled as a state-wide problem." He added that the entire economic effort in this matter is being financed by the Junta de Andalucía. "We don't have any help from central government," he stated.

Jesús Maeztu, as regionally-appointed Defender of the Andalusian People (a five-year term of office with particular focus on young people's rights in the region), regretted that "the reception of unaccompanied, underage migrants is being called into question". He went on: "I am hearing horrible things", alluding to the refusal of parties such as Vox to allow central government to reach agreement with regional governments on the sharing out of the thousands of unaccompanied migrant minors currently crammed onto the Canary Islands.

Maeztu expressed his concern over recent speeches rejecting their re-distribution around Spain. "It pains me to see this called into question," he said, pointing out that this is a humanitarian issue and advocating for a fair and balanced distribution.

"Andalucía is a land of solidarity and will take in those it has to take in", said Maeztu, underlining his view that migratory flows are a "European and national problem".

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