The situation depends on whether Morocco will re-open its borders amid the surge of COVID-19 cases.
Rabat – Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha Gonzalez Laya reiterated on Monday the Spanish government’s readiness to facilitate the transit of Moroccan diaspora from Europe.
The Spanish FM recalled Morocco’s decision to cancel the Marhaba operation this year due to COVID-19.
Marhaba is an operation that facilitates the annual transit of over three million Moroccans residing abroad.
Gonzalez Laya said that there will be no “operation crossing the strait as in previous years.”
The Marhaba operation in 2019 lasted from June 5 until September 15. It facilitated the travel of 2,965,000 Moroccans living abroad.
She said, however, that there could be an arrangement depending on the degree of “the openness of Moroccan border.”
Morocco closed borders and canceled all international flights in mid-May to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Gonzalez Laya said all governments, including in Morocco, are insisting that this is an atypical summer” that urges travelers to avoid long traveling and spend vacations differently, Ceuta Actualidad reported today.
The Spanish official referenced domestic tourism, which Morocco has recently been promoting amid the special circumstances, namely the inability to capitalize on international tourism.
On June 25, Morocco reopened domestic travel and transport means in most provinces as part of its gradual lockdown lifting measures.
Laya had already vowed on June 23 that her government is ready to facilitate transit of the Moroccan diaspora.
“If there are Moroccan citizens who want, individually, to return to their country … Spain is ready to organize the transit of these citizens,” Gonzalez Laya said.
President of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta Eduardo de Castro also announced Spain’s plans to reopen borders with Morocco on July 1. He said Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez informed him of the intention.
The European Union is currently in consultation on the list of safe countries from which people can travel to the Schengen area in July.
The EU drafted a list of 14 countries, including Morocco, that will enjoy travel to the Schengen area. EU countries had to provide their final feedback on the list by June 28 ahead of a final vote from 27 member states.