SPANISH LEGISLATION AND POLICY ON REFUGEES
The Spanish governmental policies on refugees are base don thwe Geneva Convention, the EU Directives and Intergovernmental Agreements from which the current Spanish legislation is derived. The basic legal framework is the Ley 12/2009 Reguladorqa del Derecho de Asilo y de la Protección Subsidiaria (Law for the Asylum Right and Subsidiary Protection). This legla norm was developed in agreement and with assistance of several NGOs working within the field with refugees and migrants, especially the CEAR (Spanish Comission for Refugee Aid) which included the broad-minded proposal (for EU States) the “Any person facing prosecution or danger in their home countries due to political, ethnic, social, religious or sexual reasons do not need to claim asylum simply by entwering their nearest Spanish Embassy”. This measure has been only put into practice in very few cases. Furthermore, The Spanish Parliament has not developed the Set of Rules to make the Asylum Law effectively enforced and followed by all State institutions and the Police.
Attention and assistance to refugees is provided at 3 different levels:
--Refugees Hosting Centres (CAR), run by the State and the Regions
--NGO Hosting Centres
--Temporary Stay Centres (CETI) in Ceuta and Melilla, run by the State.
Particularly these two cities , Ceuta and Melilla, in North Africa have been like controversial flashpoints periodically due to their condition as the southernmost EU border and at the same time the only EU land border with another continent. The Spanish government has ercted a Wall, with full EU assistance, to prevent the so-called ilegal entries, being heavily criticised by the media and NGOs now and then.
Spain belongs , as a EU member, to the Dublin Agreement, on cleaRING Asylum processes on the First European country to be arrived by refugees and agreed to host 17.000 Syrian refugees- of which only a part have been hosted.
WHY SOME SPANISH CITIZENS CAN BE PERCEIVED AS ECONOMIC REFUGEES ?
The Great Recession that started in the USA in 2007 spread quickly to the rest of global economies. Spain was more heavily exposed to financial troubles than other European countries due to the fast economic expansive cycle arisen by the property ‘bubble’ that ran wild and free all over the country at the initial years of c 21st.
After some years of expansion difficult to control because of the easy access to money and credit and an absolutely irresponsible banking policy that no authority within the country or the EU itself dared to stop, the country came into full economic recession in 2008. Thousands of businesses –first of all, obviously those related to building and property management- disappeared in a few months and millions of people became unemployed or redundant out of the blue.There were thousands of evictions as lots of people could not pay back their mortgages after being made redundant , and at the same time, thousands of university graduates were coming out of college to face the harsh reality of being jobless for years. All these factors combined made for the origin of a wave of mass emigration, not only to more affluent European countries but mainly to them, of hundreds of thousands of people in the short space of 2-3 years. This may explain the fact that these people arriving suddenly into Northern Europe might have been seen as ‘economic refugees’ by the media (especially those more sensationalist outlets) and the citizens of those countries.