July 28, 2021

European Parliament calls on Morocco to end its “pressure” on Spain

The European Parliament voted by a large majority (397 for, 85 against), with many abstentions (196), on Thursday, June 10, a resolution calling on Morocco to cease its « pression » on Spain by organizing the massive passage of its nationals to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. About 10,000 people managed to enter the border town on May 18 and 19, taking advantage of the relaxation of controls on the Moroccan side. Since then, 8,000 of them have been returned to Morocco. Among the 2,000 people remaining there, 1,100 minors cannot be deported under Spanish law.

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MEPs recall that the phenomenon is not linked to the migration issue but to the reception in April, by Spain, of Brahim Ghali, leader of the Saharawi separatists of the Polisario Front. Arrived to treat complications related to Covid-19, it has now returned to Algeria.

Parliament calls in particular for the rapid return of minors to their families, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The resolution, however, aimed primarily to assure Spain of the support of its partners and to give a coordinated response to a question which, underline its authors, is not limited to a conflictual relationship between Rabat and Madrid, but concerns the entire European Union. (EU).

Morocco, a “privileged partner”

The European institutions had so far displayed great caution so as not to complicate relations with Morocco, ” Privileged partner “ of the neighborhood policy within which it has, since 2008, an “advanced status”. The kingdom is the third beneficiary of European funds allocated to this policy.

Rabat is also presented as an essential pawn in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. The Commission and the European Council therefore confined themselves to recalling a few principles, including the inviolability of the Union’s external borders, and to mentioning the position of the Twenty-Seven on Western Sahara: based on the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, it advocates “The search for a negotiated solution” to this conflict.

No question, therefore, of imitating the United States which, a few days before the end of Donald Trump’s mandate, had recognized the sovereignty of Morocco over the entire territory of Western Sahara. And the text does not allude to the threat of a possible rupture of diplomatic relations with Spain, mentioned by Rabat.

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