The management of the short-lived Morocco-Spain-European Parliament crisis will find its solution in the register of royal strategic time and the outstretched hand of King Mohammed VI.
By Irina Tsukerman and Anis El Okbani
The European institutions had until Thursday June 10, displayed great caution not to complicate relations with Morocco, “privileged partner” of the neighborhood policy in which it has, since 2008, an “advanced status “. Rabat is also presented as an essential ally in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal emigration.
The alleged “European Parliament Resolution”, voted
Better yet, Morocco has no problem with the European Union. A dispute opposes it to Spain because of an unfortunate initiative, which cannot be the subject of political bargaining, instrumentalization or blackmail, “considering that, according to official declarations of Morocco of May 31, 2021, the bilateral crisis is not linked to the migration issue; whereas the Moroccan foreign minister first admitted that the massive entry of thousands of people, including children, was a direct result of the fact that the leader of the Polisario Front had been received in Spain; that, in an official statement published subsequently, the Moroccan authorities indicated as the real reason the position considered ambiguous of Spain on Western Sahara ”. of the United Nations convention on the rights of the child and the instrumentalization of minors by the Moroccan authorities in the migration crisis in Ceuta”, voted.
The tendentious content of the said resolution was diluted compared to the initial will of the Spanish deputies by the intervention of the Moroccan sovereign, “Considering that, on June 1, 2021, the Moroccan authorities decided to facilitate the readmission of all Moroccan children not accompanied but identified illegally in the territory of the Union”. It is on instructions and a sort of outstretched hand from King Mohammed VI.
Spain Europeanizes the crisis
Moroccan diplomacy believes that Spain has exploited the migration issue to hide the real source of the problem, namely the reception of the leader of the Polisario separatist movement, Brahim Ghali on its soil. During a press conference held on Wednesday June 9 in Rabat, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita indicated that the strictly bilateral crisis with Spain should not be Europeanized. “This crisis is with Spain, which has tried to Europeanize and divert its causes known to all, linked to management that is not very transparent and contrary to the values of good neighborliness and partnership”. European Parliament: ground conquered, for lack of credible pro-Moroccan lobbyists! Indeed, failing to gain the support of EU member states, Spain turned to its intermediaries in the European Parliament in an attempt to Europeanize a bilateral crisis. Madrid seems to have succeeded in Europeanizing its conflict with Morocco, with the vote of the first resolution hostile to the Kingdom of the European Parliament, since 1997.
The European Parliament voted by a large majority (397 for, 85 against), along with many abstentions (196), on Thursday, June 10, a resolution which “rejects the use by Morocco of border controls and migration, in particular unaccompanied minors, as a means of political pressure on a Member State of the Union”. Let us not forget the hidden agenda of certain promoters of this kind of texts who would like to obtain a European validation to an aberration inherited from the colonial era and which consists in suggesting that Sebta and Mellilia, occupied Moroccan cities, are part of the Spain and therefore from Europe; “Considering that, during the extraordinary meeting of the European Council on 24 and 25 May 2021, the Heads of State and Government of the Union reaffirmed their full support for Spain and underlined that the Spanish borders were part of the external borders of the Union; that the situation in Ceuta was also examined during the Foreign Affairs Council of May 18, 2021, during which the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy expressed his full solidarity and support for the Spain on behalf of the Union; that international law and the principle of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of national borders must be respected ”, we read in the so-called controversial resolution and that“ reaffirms the inviolability of the national borders of the Member States of the Union and insists that respect for their territorial integrity is non-negotiable as a fundamental principle of international law and a principle of European solidarity; recalls that attack on the territorial sovereignty of Member States cannot be tolerated “.
In response, the Arab League came out in support of Morocco with grassroots voices expressing a potential for a Gulf boycott of Spanish goods, which could mean a blow to Spain’s fragile economy suffering from high unemployment and mismanagement by the leftist ruling party. The crisis appears to be escalating and getting out of control. The last thing EU wants, or needs is a political clash with the Arab League.
In conclusion Madrid is doing everything to destabilize the only stable and peaceful country in the region, the involvement of Europe in this bilateral affair only rekindles tension with Morocco, a neighboring country on the other side of the Mediterranean. The diversionary attempt to focus the crisis on migration issues is counterproductive and will not make it possible to move forward on a way out of the crisis, the causes, genesis and responsibilities of which are well known. It is a dangerous path and inflammatory diplomacy. Madrid’s attitude sets a bad precedent and a risky bet.
The European Parliament’s resolution is, moreover, contrary to the spirit of the partnership between Morocco and the European Union. By attempting to stigmatize and antagonize it, it is in fact the very principle of partnership that she weakens. It reveals, at the level of the southern neighborhood of the EU, that a border incident, which does not correspond to the long-established cooperation and to the relationship of trust that prevails between the two parties, in particular in the field migration, can destroy everything and that even the oldest and most successful constructions can be the object of inopportune and opportunistic actions in the European Parliament.
It is time to get out of the crisis and this verbal escalation. Morocco, through the voice of its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, reframed, Friday June 11, 2021, the European Parliament and Spain, denying these two parties the competence to speak of children’s rights, a attribution reserved to the UN and UNICEF. And not to insult the future. The Kingdom of Morocco undoubtedly has valuable assets: a gateway to West Africa, enlightened Islam, security and migration cooperation. The management of this ephemeral crisis will find its solution in the register of royal strategic time and not of technocratic or political time. Amen!