Left-wingers in Spain are angry that barely any of the huge number of migrants who entered Europe last year have chosen to come to their country.
Nations along the main migrant route into the continent have been feeling the strain, with Austria and Hungary already taking unilateral measures to secure their borders while right-wing parties rise in popularity as citizens feel overwhelmed.
However, activists in Barcelona are disappointed they have not also experienced mass Middle Eastern and North African migration. Leftist mayor Ada Colau told AFP: “This fills us with rage.”
“The city is ready at the technical level, all our services are ready and residents are waiting with open arms,” she said. “But they don’t arrive.”
The city has already created its own “Barcelona Refuge City” plan, with Ms Colau claiming hundreds of citizens had emailed city hall offering to help house thousands of migrants.
Barcelona originally agreed to take 2,749 migrants, but so far just 18 have arrived in the whole of Spain.
Pascale Coissard, spokeswoman for the Commission for Refugee Aid, called this a “ridiculous figure”.
The region of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is capital, has already increased the number of places able to welcome migrants from 10 to 41, with other 50 soon to open. The Catalan branch of the Red Cross is also recruiting interpreters, social workers and employment consultants for the expected arrivals, and has set up three so-far empty reception centres.
Oscar Barbero, head of social services for a local branch of the Red Cross, said: “We are ready, but we are working blindly, without knowing when they will arrive, how they will arrive or how many will arrive.”
Ignasi Calbo, head of the “Barcelona Refuge City” plan, complained that Spain’s central government was not providing enough information. The Madrid administration has been paralysed since indecisive election results in December resulted in no party being able to form a government.
He hinted that local authorities may take over responsibilities from the government and accept migrants under their own steam.
“There will come a time when cities get tired of waiting,” he said. “It is a state duty but there is a humanitarian level which we cannot forget. And human rights are above European legislation.”
Spain has been far less popular with migrants from North Africa and the Middle East than other nations, even though it is the only European nation with a North African land border.
Breitbart London has previously reported on attempts to cross the border between Morocco and the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. On Christmas Day, around 200 migrants tried to storm the border fence at Ceuta, with many jumping into the Mediterranean and trying to swim round.
At least two drowned, while 104 were intercepted.
Although the numbers are a challenge for border guards, they are tiny compared to the numbers entering Europe through Greece and Italy, well over a million of whom arrived last year.