HomeEuropean UnionPress release - Migration situation on the Canary Islands: committee debate

Press release – Migration situation on the Canary Islands: committee debate

The Civil Liberties Committee will discuss the latest developments with Commissioner Ylva Johansson, President of the Canary Islands Ángel Víctor Torres and a representative of the NGO Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR).

According to the Spanish Government, 23 023 migrants and asylum-seekers landed on the archipelago last year irregularly from Africa by boat (compared with 2 687 in 2019). Most of them arrived in the last few months of 2020, leaving reception centres overwhelmed. Combined with the public health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this led to the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation and sparked some protests among the local population.

When: Monday, 1 March, from 16.50 to 18.20

Where: European Parliament in Brussels, József Antall building, room 4Q2 & via remote participation.

You can follow the meeting live.


According to UNHCR data, up to 81% of migrants arriving by boat on the Canary Islands are men, mostly from Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. The sea crossing from the African coast can be as short as around 100 km, but the strong currents make it a perilous journey. According to Missing Migrants, in November 2020 alone, the month with most arrivals, over 500 people lost their lives trying to make it to the Canary Islands.

National and regional authorities are speeding up the construction of emergency accommodation, but in the meantime, people are being housed between makeshift camps and tourism resorts, mostly empty because of the pandemic.


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