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EU must urgently step-up support to overstretched border regions and towns

The President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) told the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, that the growing influx of immigrants into the EU was placing uncontrollable pressure on cities and towns that border non-EU countries. President Valcárcel said that it was time that the EU took urgent action through "effective control of external borders, improved cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, and political and economic solidarity with the regions and towns experiencing the greatest impact from migration ". Referring specifically to the Spanish towns of Ceuta and Melilla which border Morocco whom have had to significantly tighten up security to deal with the recent surge of migrants trying to pass over the border, President Valcárcel also recalled a report he had published on Irregular immigration on the European Union's southern border.Valcárcel tells EU Home Affairs Commissioner

Having visited the Spanish towns of Ceuta and Melilla in April, the CoR president explained that local and regional authorities were increasingly overstretched having to deal with the growing numbers trying to enter the EU through the two enclaves. He stressed that more needed to be done and greater investment provided with estimates indicating that more than 2,000 immigrants had entered Melilla alone since the beginning of the year. The President called on the Commissioner to make better use of existing EU instruments such as the Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) and EUROSUR to help authorities manage the flows.

Valcárcel said that there was growing urgency to improve cooperation with immigrants home countries, providing additional support to combat organised crime, extortion and illegal human trafficking. The EU, he argued, must help, "promote transparent, democratic political practices which offer immigrants a better future in their places of origin".

Although President Valcárcel said the EUR 10 million granted to Spain from the EU’s emergency fund to tackle the problem was a step in the right direction, the whole of the EU needed to show far greater political and economic solidarity with the regions and towns located on the borders which were having to deal with the problem. "The borders of Ceuta and Melilla are not only the borders of Spain, but also of the EU", the President pointed out. "The phenomenon of immigration is a European problem which requires greater cooperation and the adoption of urgent, tangible measures by the EU". President Valcárcel reiterated his offer for the Commissioner to visit Ceuta and Melilla to learn more about the challenge being faced and discuss what concrete action was needed to relieve the problem.

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