Spain is seeking to improve its bilateral cooperation ties with Morocco in the coming years, notably in terms of political consultation and economic partnership.
According to the 2021-2024 Spanish Foreign Action Strategy, made public today, February 26, relations with Morocco will be one of Spain’s priorities in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The strategy’s recommendations for the region included “strengthening dialogue with all countries in the region and holding political consultations and High-Level Meetings with the Maghreb countries, especially with Morocco and Algeria.”
The 111-page document highlighted Morocco’s importance as a partner for Spain by providing several illustrations of bilateral cooperation.
“Economic relations [in the region] have reached unprecedented levels, with an increase in trade that has made, for example, Spain become Morocco’s first partner,” the document said.
In 2019, the value of trade between Morocco and Spain stood at MAD 144.4 billion ($16.2 billion), representing 28.4% of Moroccan trade with the European Union.
In the field of migration, Spain considered its collaboration with Morocco, alongside Algeria and Mauritania, to be based on a comprehensive approach that has witnessed constant improvement over the past 15 years.
The 2021-2024 Spanish Foreign Action Strategy also emphasized the importance of the large, and still growing, Maghrebian community living in Spain. More than 760,000 Moroccans reside in Spain, representing the largest foreign community in the Iberian country.
According to the document, cooperation with Morocco in the field of education is also of utmost importance for Spain. The North African country hosts the largest number of Spanish schools and education centers in the region, which serve more than 4,500 students.
“The Cervantes Institute is also very present. And the country hosts a [Spanish] Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food,” the document said.
The common challenges facing Morocco and Spain are the main reasons the European country is seeking to improve relations with its southern neighbor.
“The relationship with Morocco is defined both by geographical contiguity and by the intensity and range of common interests and challenges,” the strategy guideline stated.
“These elements, unparalleled with other countries, require as a priority of action the development of relations, political agreement, and multisectoral cooperation […], in order to favor a progressive convergence that ultimately guarantees the stability of the relationship and the preservation of our national interests,” the document added.
The 2021-2024 Spanish Foreign Action Strategy confirms the privileged status that Morocco enjoys vis-a-vis Spain, notably in terms of trade and migration control.
Only a few days ago, on February 23, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha Gonzalez Laya held a virtual meeting with her Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita.
The two ministers celebrated the “excellent and resilient relations” between Morocco and Spain.
Morocco responded positively to the Spanish ambitions to improve bilateral cooperation when Bourita confirmed his country’s commitment to strengthening economic, cultural, and educational partnerships.