Spain and Morocco share a long-standing history and friendship and have been working together to face the European Union's most alarming issues: counterterrorism and irregular migration.
Rabat – The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez seized the occasion of Morocco’s Throne Day, marking the 20th anniversary of King Mohammed VI’s accession to the throne, to praise Morocco’s notable progress.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to emphasize Spain’s strong relationship with Morocco. Spain considers Morocco an important partner with whom further collaborations are on the horizon.
Sanchez spoke proudly of Spain’s relationship with Morocco in a memo published on the website of Spanish newspaper El Pais.
“Morocco is today one of the most important partners in Spain. The close relationship that unites us is articulated around a dense network of shared interests to which my Government has devoted priority attention in the last year,’’ Sanchez underlined.
Sanchez has been to Morocco twice, once in November 2018 on an official visit and then on the occasion of the United Nations Conference on Migration. The conference took place on December 10-11 in Marrakech.
He further declared that his government will support Morocco in the European Union. Spain has been pressing the EU to financially assist Morocco in its ongoing battle with irregular migration.
The European country has also strengthened surveillance in the two Spanish exclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, and also carrying out sea surveillance operations to abort migration attempts.
“‘We will support Morocco in its relations with the European Union and project the dynamism of the economic, social and cultural exchanges of our societies in all areas.’’
Spain and Morocco also have a budding partnership in the field of counterterrorism. Morocco is lately emerging as a global leader in the fight against the ongoing threat of extremism and terrorism.
“Our cooperation on migration and counterterrorism is a model example in the European environment. Its foundation is well-established trust, mutual respect, and permanent communication,’’ Sanchez highlighted.
The Spanish president recognized Moroccan authorities’ efforts in facing one of the European Union’s major challenges, irregular migration.
“As a result of this work, during the first half of this year, the number of irregular entries has been reduced by 33%. The number of entries has been reduced for the first time since 2013,” said the president.
On the list of Spain’s ongoing efforts in support of its North African neighbour, is ‘’the active involvement of Spain in the negotiation and subsequent approval of the Agricultural Agreement and the Fisheries Agreement between the European Union and Morocco.’’
In terms of economics, elaborated the president, Spanish investments are the largest in the African continent, constituting 15% of Morocco’s GDP.
Sanchez also announced that Spain plans to further consolidate its cooperation with Morocco through investment in the energy sector.
“One of our priorities for the coming months will be to complete the development of a third electrical interconnection between the two countries, to achieve greater security of supply.’’
Sanchez explained that Spain’s greater interest in Morocco is due to the two countries’ mutual background in terms of human and cultural links.
Moroccans’ presence in Spain is numbered at 1,000,000 people. This mass presence requires maintaining a strong relationship with their native country.
‘’This reality demands a special and constant effort to favor the spaces of communication and rapprochement between our cultures and our communities.’’
Sanchez concluded his note by committing to further develop an equitable and dynamic relationship in a way to satisfy the aspirations of both peoples.
“Our neighborhood is today more than ever an opportunity and a challenge to develop an equitable and dynamic relationship that satisfies the legitimate aspirations of our peoples. This is the commitment I assume with ambition and conviction on this anniversary.’’