The response by Spain’s Interior Minister to last week’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upholding express deportations of migrants who storm border fences at Spain’s North African enclave cities of Melilla and Ceuta has been criticized by the leadership of left-wing anti-austerity party Podemos, signalling a first rift in Spain’s new governing coalition between the Socialist party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos.
Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has welcomed the ECHR court ruling, saying it reinforced Spain’s longstanding position that migrants who vault the fence in organized “acts of violence” cannot expect to enjoy the same fundamental rights as migrants to seek to access Spanish and European territory via legal means.
Various leaders of Podemos have lashed out at the Interior Minister’s comments and a leaked draft dossier outlining the ministry’s positioning that suggests a hardening of the government’s policy in the wake of the ECHR ruling.
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Podemos spokesman Rafa Mayoral called the ECHR ruling a disgrace and party sources have been quoted as saying that the continuation of the deportations runs contrary to what is stipulated in the coalition agreement signed by PSOE general secretary Pedro Sanchez and Podemos general secretary Pablo Iglesias.
In the run-up to the 2019 general elections, the Socialists had campaigned saying they were in principle against such express deportations, but would keep the deportations policy in place until the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the matter. Unidas Podemos has consistently maintained its opposition to the summary deportations.
Both partners in government were reportedly surprised by the ECHR ruling, having expected the court to overturn the practice of express deportations leftover from the previous conservative Partido Popular governments under former President Mariano Rajoy.
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