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"If the minister of equality doesn't mind, I will respond to all of the questions related to the Melilla border fence." This was the warning from Spanish minister and spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez as the questions from journalists began after today's weekly cabinet meeting, brought forward to Monday to avoid a clash with the first day of the NATO summit to be held in Madrid this week. And Rodríguez went through with her threat. Journalists went ahead and asked for the opinion of the also-present Irene Montero, equality minister from junior coalition partner Unidas Podemos, which has once again distanced itself without any consequences from the line marked by Pedro Sánchez with regard to the horrific images of Melilla, the Spanish North African enclave on whose border dozens of migrants died. But it was the PSOE politician who insisted that she would be the one to answer all questions related to the issue, without letting Montero take part in the press meeting beyond explaining the details of the Trans Law, one of the more ambitious projects of her ministry and which has also led to some disputes with coalition colleagues. The minister from the alternative left grouping resigned herself to accepting Rodríguez's wishes and made no reference to the Melilla disaster.

It was the topic of the day and this was reflected by the interest of journalists to know Montero's opinion. However, it was Rodríguez who set the tone throughout the press conference, reiterating the words used by Pedro Sánchez over the weekend, so that no-one in the government went off-message. Meanwhile, interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who had been the protagonist in 2021 over the issue of "hot returns" of migrants to Morocco in the Ceuta enclave, expressed his regret over the deaths of the migrants in a statement this Monday, but stressed that no country can tolerate what he defined as "violent attacks on its borders."

Commission of inquiry

At the same time, the junior partner in the Spanish government, unable to speak at the press conference, went on to denounce the events that took place last Friday in Melilla. In this regard, Unidas Podemos has registered a non-legislative proposal (NLP) in Congress to demand the opening of an independent investigation into the "human tragedy" at the Melilla border fence. With this initiative, the left-wing group wants to "establish the political and criminal accountability in collaboration with the diplomatic delegations of the European Union, present in Moroccan territory," as well as ensuring proper health care for the dozens of wounded.