Political gains push the Spanish government to expedite the opening of Ceuta and Melilla customs

Political gains push the Spanish government to expedite the opening of Ceuta and Melilla customs

After a long Spanish government silence, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Minister of the Interior in the northern neighbor, came out to release the developments of the new customs crossings in the occupied cities of Ceuta and Melilla, as he indicated that “talks with Rabat are continuing in this regard.”

In press statements, Marlaska, whose government is facing “pressure” from the opposition and from its bases in the two occupied cities, revealed that “Morocco and Spain are constantly working to put measures in place to allow the reopening of commercial customs in Ceuta and Melilla as soon as possible.”

The Spanish Minister of the Interior added, “Opening these new customs is an obligation that falls on the administrations of the two countries, so together they are constantly working to bring this project to life,” but he did not specify any date for that.

According to observers, “the political circles in Spain aim to take advantage of the Marhaba 2023 process in order to speed up the work of the occupied Ceuta and Melilla customs, on which Rabat places red lines, the most important of which is not to turn them into international crossings,” so that this is not considered an implicit recognition of the dependence of the two cities on Madrid.

In the past few days, identical media sources revealed that Madrid and Rabat “agreed to define a second trial phase for commercial customs in the occupied cities of Ceuta and Melilla, as the process will be in both directions, after it was limited in the first phase to exporting Spanish products.”

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Election fever

Nabil Dariush, a political expert specializing in Spanish affairs, believes that this issue is of great political sensitivity for Morocco, as the delay in reaching an agreement on the one hand, and the continuation of negotiations on it on the other hand, since the normalization of bilateral relations, indicates that technical issues carry a load. political on both sides.

Dariush said, in an interview with Hespress, that “Morocco is definitely trying to reach a formula that does not have a high political cost, just as the Spanish government is trying to obtain political gain in an election year in which it faces the right, which is pressuring it regarding this point and regarding its position in support of the autonomy plan in Moroccan Sahara.

And the spokesman considered that “the northern Moroccan region has witnessed a qualitative economic leap during the past twenty years and has turned into an important economic pole, and therefore the occupied cities of Ceuta and Melilla are no longer able to benefit from the economic fragility that the northern region suffered from in the past to export their goods, especially since the situation has been overcome.” Final”.

The author of Hespress concluded that “the goods that can enter from Ceuta and Melilla are originally in Morocco and at reasonable prices,” noting at the same time that “the problem is today in the economic model adopted by Spain in the two cities based on the free trade zone, in which the Moroccan space was its only market.” And with the data changing radically, the establishment of customs will not be useful in solving this problem for Spain, as the greatest profit will be political, not commercial.

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For his part, Mohamed Benaissa, head of the Northern Observatory for Human Rights, said, “The opening of customs at the Ceuta and Melilla crossings comes as a waiver of Moroccan lands by virtue of history, geography, and cultural data.”

Benaissa added, in a statement to Hespress, that “the decision to open customs at the two crossings, or any change in the status quo, without its aim being to demand the return of the two cities, is a disgrace to us if we succumb to Spanish pressure.”

The head of the Northern Observatory for Human Rights considered that “by applying the Moroccan customs law, if Morocco accepts Spanish pressures, it will have an impact on the economies of the northern Moroccan cities, as it will be in the interest of Spain, as it will revive the economy of the two occupied cities after they were strangled.”

“North Morocco needs to correct the imbalances that define its economic structure because it is based on smuggling of all kinds, such as smuggling drugs, goods and people, through economic projects that have an impact on the local population,” continues the author to Hespress, before concluding that “activating these customs may be positive for smuggling workers, provided that their rights are properly guaranteed.”



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