Brussels and Madrid are expected to announce new aid aimed at combating these irregular migratory flows

EU and Spain step up cooperation with Mauritania on illegal immigration

La presidenta de la Comisión Europea, Ursula von der Leyen, y el primer ministro español, Pedro Sánchez, se reúnen con el presidente mauritano, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, en Nouakchott - BORJA PUIG DE LA BELLACASA LA MONCLOA AFP
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez meet with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani in Nouakchott - BORJA PUIG DE LA BELLACASA LA MONCLOA AFP

The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, have arrived in Mauritania, where they were received by the leader of the African nation, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, with whom they will discuss measures to combat illegal immigration.  

Sánchez and Von der Leyen are expected to sign agreements with Ghazouani on migration and energy. The Spanish leader and the European leader will also announce a series of new measures to help Mauritania's economic development, according to EFE.  

Mauritania is a key country in the fight against legal immigration, as it is from this African state, along with Senegal, that most of the people who arrive in canoes to the Canary Islands depart. According to official data gathered by the news agency, 83% of the boats with irregular migrants arriving on the Canary Islands' coasts come from Mauritania. 

This represents an increase compared to last year. According to figures from the Spanish Interior Ministry, 7,270 people arrived on Spanish territory last January, compared to 566 in the same month in 2023. 

However, most of these irregular migrants are not of Mauritanian origin, but come from Mali. There are currently more than 100,000 Malian refugees in Mauritania due to the unstable situation in the country, which has seen a rise in jihadist terrorism in recent years.  

To address this challenge, both Brussels and Madrid will announce new aid aimed at combating these irregular migratory flows, not only from a security point of view, but also in a comprehensive manner and with an impact on the development of the Mauritanian economy. Within this aid, a possible package of 200 million euros is being considered, aimed at various aspects of cooperation.  

Sánchez, Von der Leyen and Ghazouani will also sign a series of agreements related to investment in Mauritania and culture. According to EFE, economic support will also include a forum on green hydrogen, which has been organised on the occasion of the visit and which aims to promote a European Union project in Mauritania. 

The news agency also recalls that last October the European Commission, Spain, France, Germany and the European Investment Bank launched this initiative to support investment in energy transition and the decarbonisation of Mauritania's economy through the development of its green hydrogen industries.