The European Commission is at a loss about how many Latin American migrants could enter the EU after the Spanish government signed a bilateral agreement with the Biden administration to accept excess asylum seekers and prevent them from entering the United States.
The Commission gave their answer in response to a question by VOX MEP Jorge Buxadé, who asked officials if the EU was aware of the agreement and was preparing potential protocols, should excessive numbers of Latin American migrants apply for the scheme.
The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez signed the migration agreement with the White House in late April. The agreement establishes processing centres for migrants in Guatemala and Colombia in order to prevent them from making their way to the American-Mexican border.
Spain, which is already experiencing a surge in South American migration, is seeking asylum seekers to bolster its domestic labour market as well as to curry favour with Washington by helping ease its border crisis.
The Commission responded to inquiries about the deal saying that it was the prerogative of member states to set migration policy with third-party states and that it was the duty of Spain to set limits on numbers coming in.
Migration is a key issue in the ongoing election campaign in Spain as conservatives and populists jockey to displace the socialist PSOE government. The election is expected to result in victory for the right as voters turn against Sánchez, particularly over the issue of regional separatism. The question of immigration has risen to prominence in recent years led by the populist VOX party which is poised to potentially enter a coalition government with the conservative Partido Popular.
Responding to the Commission’s statement, Buxadé said that it was indicative of how Spain had outsourced its migration policy to outside powers.
Spain, the only nation in the world whose immigration policy is decided in every case from outside and from many places: the U.S., Morocco, Brussels, Davos, and the various UN agencies.
The subject of Latin American visa access to the EU featured heavily in the CELAC summit hosted this week in Brussels as various South American countries pushed for visa liberalisation. Europe’s diminishing international pull has forced EU leaders to rely on offering visa access to the Global South in recent years despite a populist pushback against migration.