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    Spain to Install New Entry/Exit System in Ceuta-Morocco Border

    The new system seeks to automate the data-entry process to keep track of entries and exits to/from the European territories.

    15 Sep 2022

    Rabat - This past Monday, the Spanish government agreed to install a new entry and exit control system (EES) at the Tarjal border, separating Ceuta and Morocco.

    According to the Spanish Press Agency (EFE), Spain’s government delegate Salvadora Mateos and secretary of state for security Rafael Perez Ruiz approved the border control system during a meeting that discussed the situation of border control in Ceuta.

    The new entry and exit control system is expected to be installed in the upcoming days, says EFE.

    Spain's decision to consolidate border control at the Ceuta border comes four months after the reopening of the Tarjal crossing after a two-year closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In April 2016, the European Commission proposed the EES as part of the revised Smart Border Package. The proposal was accepted on November 20, 2017, and entered into force on December 29, 2017.

    The border control system seeks to automate the registration process of travelers entering the EU territory from third countries, including short-stay visa holders and visa-exempt travelers. It further facilitates the mobility of travelers while preventing irregular migration and identity fraud.

    The system registers visitors’ names, travel documents, biometric data, date and place of entry and exit “in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection,” says the European Commission website.

    By adopting the ESS, Spain and Europe aim to control migration flows to northern Mediterranean territories.

    According to IOM data, Europe registered a total of 38,008 migrants and refugees in the second quarter of 2022. 55% of the arrivals entered the European bloc from Italy and Malta while the migratory routes through the Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla, and the Canary Islands, have seen a slight drop in the past quarter after the recent diplomatic rapprochement between Rabat and Madrid.

    In August, the EU allocated €500 million for the 2021-2027 period to reinforce Morocco’s border management, increase joint investigations on potential irregular migration, and raise awareness about the danger of clandestine migration.

    However, irregular migration from Morocco to Europe persists in spite of the EU and Spain investing in the implementation of increasingly tighter border security systems.

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