Spain’s Council of Ministers authorized a call for subsidies in the area of international protection for the sum of 83.4 million euros. The aim of this decision is to strengthen the National System to Receive and Integrate applicants and beneficiaries of international protection.
Acting Minister for Employment and Social Security, Fátima Báñez, specified that the bulk of the subsidy – 74 million euros – will be allocated to funding projects designed to create and maintain reception arrangements and to develop tailor-made insertion schemes run by NGOs.
Furthermore 1.2 million euros will be allocated to social and health care at Short-Stay Immigrant Centres (Spanish acronym: CETI) in Ceuta and Melilla. Another 3 million euros will be allocated to projects aimed at raising awareness, the training of professionals and the reception of specific groups, such as victims of human trafficking, and 2.24 million euros to projects to fit out and adapt installations. A further 3 million euros will be allocated to projects for personalized and comprehensive labour insertion schemes designed for applicants and beneficiaries of international protection.
Fátima Báñez reiterated the government’s commitment to applicants for international protection, and highlighted its supportive and responsible management of resettlement and relocation arrangements, in line with the agreement with its European partners.
In this regard, the minister highlighted that 20,000 people arrived on Spanish soil last year requesting international protection and that they were taken in and integrated with perfect normality. “The supportive effort being made by the whole of Spanish society is extensive”. She also highlighted that a recent Eurostar report reflects that Spain was the fifth-placed country, in terms of a comparison between 2015 and 2014, with the highest percentage increase in direct applications within its national territory.
Fátima Báñez also pointed out that Spain undertook to the EU authorities to take in 150 people from Greece and 50 from Italy at the start of May. As regards the resettlement program, the minister pointed out that some 850 people will arrive this year, of which 285 will arrive from Turkey. Furthermore, the “1-for-1” mechanism under the EU-Turkey Declaration provides for the arrival of another 100 people.
Fátima Báñez explained that the government has increased coordination through the creation of an inter-ministerial committee headed up by the Vice-Prime Minister of the Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. Furthermore, funds have been increased upon a proposal from all the parliamentary groups. “The budget for 2016 has a provision of 253 million euros to attend to this rescaling of our whole reception and asylum system and we have also increased the funds available to the EU authorities,” she stated.