It was not on the agenda of this European Council. But it has crept in by force of events. At dinner this Monday, European leaders will talk about migration because the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has already advanced that he will raise the issue with the intention that it be included on the agenda of the next summit, in four weeks. And it is that the migratory pact is blocked, while countries like Italy and Spain face the lack of solidarity of other European countries to manage migratory flows.
In this context, Spain has been sliding in the hours before the summit that it did not see the migration debate mature enough within the EU, and that it required more time to be able to reach “a balanced agreement”.RELATED
However, upon his arrival at the Europa building of the European Council, in Brussels, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, wanted to send a message to the Moroccan Government: “The neighborhood relations that the European Union and Spain may have, consequently, with Morocco, they have to be based on two fundamental pillars: trust and respect for the European and Spanish borders, of Ceuta and Melilla with Morocco “.
The Prime Minister also added: “Morocco must always be reminded that there is no better or greater ally within the European Union than Spain to defend Morocco’s strategic interests, which are so necessary also for the European Union. Spain’s relationship with Morocco is strategic, we want to have a relationship that is as constructive as possible, but it has to be based on two main axes: trust and respect. “
And, according to Sánchez, “Ceuta suffered a massive arrival of migrants from Morocco, and this has triggered an unprecedented crisis in recent years between the European Union and Morocco.”
“In this case,” Sánchez continued, “respect for the borders of Europe, the Spanish borders of Ceuta and Melilla with the Moroccan country.”
The Executive has wanted to frame in the “normality” of the border crossing the new attempts to enter Spanish territory and considers that Morocco has been doing its job since Wednesday afternoon. Thus, sources from Moncloa maintain that the response was “fast and effective.” Although at first the government made a balance not to directly point out the responsibility of the Alawite kingdom, the tone rose within hours throughout Tuesday. Sánchez demanded that he “cooperate” to continue maintaining the relationship between the two countries and sent a message of “firmness” accompanied by a symbolic visit to Ceuta and Melilla in the midst of the conflict. But in 24 hours he resumed his planned schedule and turned the page on the specific incident that caused the massive entry of some 8,000 people, of which 6,500 have already been returned, according to the latest data offered by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska.
However, the great challenge that Spain faces is the reconstruction of diplomatic relations with Morocco, which had already suffered previous encounters. The Government trusts that they will rebuild “soon” and trusts the solution to the unanimous support it has received from the European Union against what happened with the Parsley crisis.
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, has insisted on resources: “Controlling the border has a cost, it means mobilizing human and material troops. You need resources and we help Morocco as we help Turkey and other countries to exercise this control. Then there are all the cooperation policies. Morocco in the last seven years must have received more than 15,000 million euros in cooperation aid. Migration has to be a regulated and orderly process. It has to be part of our bilateral relations, which include many topics, such as help, cooperation, and you have to make a package. “
Not only has the EU transferred 15,000 million in the last seven years, but in the new EU budgets for 2021-2027 there is a Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) of 79,500 million, a good part of which will go to neighboring countries, among which is Morocco. The instrument also has an additional flexibility reserve amounting to 9,534 million for “situations of crisis or migratory pressure.”
In this sense, Spain understands that the Italian position “in part” is shared: “Italy wants redistribution, but that now is not going to fly at the European level and I don’t think it is the debate that will triumph next week. We know how to progress in the dossiers. What we want is a balanced agreement in all its terms. And the Commission’s migration pact proposal is not balanced, it has obvious execution problems with the sponsorship of returns and the management of arrivals. in controlled centers he questions issues of rights and values. Our situation is different from the Italians, Morocco is not Libya. We need solid partnerships with third countries. “