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Muna, the newborn baby 'EUnavfor Med' sparks controversy in Spain

Muna Navarra in the infirmary of the frigate Navarra (Credit: EMAD)

(B2) Muna Navarra will not have the right of residence in Spain…

This little girl was born on the Spanish frigate Navarre shortly before Christmas, after his mother, along with 215 other migrants, was rescued by Spanish sailors on Thursday, December 23.

A beautiful 3,2 kg baby

The birth was quite long: it lasted all night and ended happily on Friday morning. According to the established formula: “the mother and child are doing well”. Beautiful baby weighing 3 kg, Muna bears the name of her aunt and as a second name that of the Spanish frigate. Which becomes a tradition.

Mother and daughter sent to Italy…

But Madrid did not want to go further and follow the example of Berlin, which in 2016 had granted the stay to little Sophia born on board one of its ships which participated as the Navarre to the European maritime operation EUNAVFOR Med (read: What happened to little Sophia?). On the morning of December 24, a helicopter from the frigate transported mother and daughter to Catania (Italy), where they were immediately taken to Cannizzara hospital. Most of the other migrants had been transshipped to the British survey vessel Hms echo (H-87) which also participates in the European operation.

Madrid embarrassed at the corners

However, in front of the press, the Minister of Education and spokesperson for the Spanish government, Inigo Mendez de Vigo (editor's note, former MEP), celebrated the birth on board the Spanish frigate, the night of Thursday, December 22, as it was a beautiful Christmas story. “ Welcome to Spain, little girl. I think this bodes well for this Christmas, he said the next day according to the daily El Pais. Everyone then thought that the mother and daughter would have the right to stay and would be repatriated to Spain. But the government was very ambiguous in its response.

Comply with European and Spanish law

Spain wants to act “ in accordance with European standards ». Although the baby was born on Spanish territory, the ship Navarra, she has no right to Spanish nationality or to reside in Spain. Nationality can only be acquired if one of the parents is Spanish, or when the identity of the parents is unknown, the child then having no nationality.

…and the protocol of Operation Sophia

Another reason for the transfer to Italy, the desire to " respect EUNAVFOR Med protocol “says the Ministry of Defense. " The ship was in the middle of a military operation, in which several countries are participating. All ships must bring to Italy the castaways they rescue. » This is where they are registered and their situation is studied to find out if they are entitled to asylum or if they should be returned to their country. Muna's family comes from Ivory Coast, a country that is not, in principle, considered dangerous by the EU.

A public debate?

However, the controversy rages in Spain. The mother is only 17 years old and is therefore a minor. In addition, she was allegedly raped during her trip to the Libyan coast, according to our colleagues at El Mundo (1). So many reasons which should justify at least the right to asylum, as many editorialists point out. An option that the Spanish Interior Ministry does not want closed.

A possible reconsideration of the Muna case

His spokesperson said that " the fact of having been brought to Catania, in compliance with European standards, does not prejudge anything » from the following. He also insists on the possibility for the mother to apply for nationality “ whenever she wants." But there is no automatic right, he recalls.. “The fact of being born in Spanish territory makes it possible to reduce the procedure but does not automatically give the right to nationality ».

A state affair

It is therefore the presidency of the government which took charge of the file, in order to study “the possibilities for mother and daughters to travel to Spain”. “Spain will not allow [Muna] to be stateless insists the government spokesperson.

(Leonor Hubaut with NGV)

(1) Editor's note: this is not an isolated case. According to a study carried out by the FGS Berlin which participated in the European mission, cases of sexual violence are common on the immigration route, particularly for young women. Read article to follow

Leonor Hubaut

© B2 - Bruxelles2 is a French online media that focuses on political Europe (powers, defence, foreign policy, internal security). It follows and analyzes developments in European policy, unvarnished and without concessions. Approved by the CPPAP. Member of SPIIL. Please quote "B2" or "Bruxelles2" in case of recovery Leonor Hubaut is a journalist. Graduated in international relations from the Free University of Brussels (specialization in globalization). She covers for B2 the work of the European Parliament, CSDP missions and African issues. Sahel specialist.