Parliament has adopted a resolution on the human rights situation at the Spanish/Moroccan border, alleging that the Moroccan authorities created an artificial migratory crisis in Ceuta.
The Resolution alleges Morocco has used border control and migration, and unaccompanied minors in particular, as deliberate political pressure against Spain.
The resolution stated that an unprecedented surge in crossings to Spanish territory occurred in May with 9 000 people entering the autonomous city of Ceuta after Moroccan police temporarily eased border controls and opened the gates of their border fence. The claim is that this was a crisis deliberately triggered by Morocco because of diplomatic tensions between the North African country and Spain, and is not actually related to migration, but rather to Spain having welcomed and admitted to hospital Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front terrorist organisation.
Commenting on this Parliamentary Resolution, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad said in a statement that attempts to Europeanise this crisis are useless and do not alter its purely bilateral nature, its root causes and the proven responsibility of Spain in triggering it.
“The instrumentalisation of the European Parliament in this crisis is counterproductive. Far from contributing to the solution, it is part of a logic of short-sighted political escalation”, stated the ministry, adding that this maneouvre, which aims to circumvent the debate on the underlying reasons behind our bilateral crisis with Spain, does not fool anyone.
For the Ministry, the resolution is out of phase with Morocco’s exemplary accomplishments in migration cooperation with the European Union. “These are the same people, trying to criticise Morocco in this area, who actually benefit from the concrete and daily results of cooperation on the ground,” the Ministry said.
It recalled that no one in Europe can question the quality of the partnership between the European Union and Morocco in all areas, including migration. The figures are there to confirm it (since 2017 alone, migration cooperation has enabled the foiling of more than 14,000 illegal migration attempts, the dismantling of 5,000 trafficking networks, the rescue of more than 80,500 migrants from sea crossings and the prevention of countless storming attempts)
The resolution of the European Parliament runs against the spirit of the partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and the European Union. By trying to stigmatise Morocco, the resolution in reality weakens the very principle of partnership.
The position of the Member States of the Commission and of the External Service has been constructive regarding Morocco’s key role in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and the positive appreciation of cooperation in the field of migration, the Ministry’s statement concluded.
This parliamentary initiative is a reminder that the Parliament is a fickle beast that can easily be led astray by lobbyists. The Resolution was not approved with the majority sought and fell short of the support expected under massive Spanish lobbying pressure. Several MEPs slammed Spain’s aggressive manoeuvres to drive up votes for the Resolution.
“The Sanchez government by pushing aggressively for the adoption of a European Parliament resolution against Morocco, seeks to camouflage its successive errors, wanting to lead the European Union on this dangerous path. This sterile manœuvre would lead to escalation instead of building dialogue between two neighbouring countries. Madrid is doing everything to destabilise the only stable and peaceful country in the region.”Tomáš Zdechovský MEP
Danish MEP Søren Gade said in a statement that he rejected the text because it does not reflect the reliable and close nature of relations between Morocco and the EU. “I decided not to vote for the text. I think it’s important to have reliable and close relations between Morocco and the European Union,” he said.
“I voted against this resolution (…) because it pillories our Moroccan strategic partner and remains silent on the responsibilities of the Spanish law enforcement agencies in the violence reported by NGOs and for which the Spanish justice authorities have opened an investigation. An effective and pragmatic diplomacy is anything but inflammatory diplomacy.”Frédérique Ries MEP
At a time when the EU is demonstrably failing to take effective action against very serious international breaches of human rights in countries such as Belarus, Russia and China which totally contradict our European values and principles, I believe that the European Parliament’s initiative with this small minded Resolution is lamentable.
A more constructive approach by the EU with trusted and reliable partners such as Morocco would be to nurture and build the already successful existing partnership through dialogue and cooperation. Instead the Parliament has condescended to petty-minded point scoring and posturing by a few chauvinistic, blinkered MEPs thereby allowing Spain to divert attention from their diplomatic gaffe in creating a bilateral crisis with Morocco through their inept handling of the Brahim Ghali scandal.
The Brahim Ghali scandal will not go away, and Spain has questions to answer for its behaviour. But this Resolution is an irrelevant temporary diversion that will not survive the elemental “So what?” test, and will be quickly condemned to the dustbin of Parliamentary history where it belongs.
The real problem between Spain and Morocco does not concern migration. It has nothing to do with unaccompanied minors. It is about diplomacy and trust. The rich and long-standing relationship between Morocco and the EU should be kept far away from this prejudiced and misguided Spanish smokescreen.