On 18th November 2021, the Kingdom of Spain took over the alternating Africa-EU Chairmanship of the Rabat Process in a handover ceremony that took place in the framework of the Rabat Process Senior Officials’ Meeting, organised in Malabo by the outgoing Chair Equatorial Guinea. In a video interview, a representative of the incoming Chairmanship outlines Spain’s programme and priorities for its one-year term as Rabat Process Chair.

Video: Priorities of Spain’s Chairmanship of the Rabat Process

In the interview produced by the Rabat Process Secretariat, José Luis Pardo, Ambassador for Migration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, presents the programme, priorities and vision for Spain’s Chairmanship of the Rabat Process:

“International cooperation is paramount”

Spain, a founding member of the Rabat Process and member of the Steering Committee, has always been committed to the migration Dialogue and is looking forward to formally taking on the role as Dialogue Chair for the first time. In the interview, Amb. Pardo stresses that international migration is a natural fact, that needs to be properly managed in order to unfold its undoubted positive potential: “In Spain we deeply believe in the positive effects and opportunities of migration, but also in the need to maximise its benefits and minimise the challenges involved in it, based on the cross-cutting principle of respect for human rights and human dignity.” The Rabat Process, as a forum for open and balanced dialogue on migration and mobility, can make an important contribution. “International cooperation is paramount. Not a single country or region can cope with all these challenges alone. We can only do it together - this is the only way to propose good and sustainable management of human migration flows,” says Amb. Pardo. During its Chairmanship, Spain aims to advance the Dialogue, while keeping it firmly rooted in its founding principles of openness and respect of a global and balanced approach to migration.

A programme addressing all thematic Domains

Spain considers face-to-face meetings as one of the strengths of the Rabat Process. The Spanish Chairmanship therefore plans to organise high-level physical meetings in 2022, after a Dialogue programme that has been predominantly based on virtual meetings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Spanish Chairmanship will address all five Domains of the current multi-annual strategic framework, the Marrakesh Action Plan.

The programme addresses Domain 3 (international protection and asylum) and Domain 5 (return, readmission and reintegration) while paying special attention to Domains 1, 2 and 4 through the organisation of high-level meetings. The meeting on Domain 1 (migration and development, root causes) will be “an opportunity to see how we could be more effective, efficient and targeted, in the link between migration and development”, explains Amb. Pardo. The meeting on Domain 2 (legal migration and mobility), is of particular importance from Spain’s perspective: “Legal migration is one of the pillars on top of our national, Spanish migration policy. In Lisbon, in December 2021, we will hold the first ever meeting on labour migration of the Rabat Process, organised by the reference countries, Portugal and Cabo Verde and a second one in Spain in the second semester of 2022” And, finally, a meeting on Domain 4 (irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling) will be the occasion to discuss new challenges and lessons learnt that have arisen in the context of Covid-19 and how to be more effective in jointly fighting human trafficking and smuggling networks.