Rabat – The Spanish government created a commission with representatives from at least six ministries to discuss possible scenarios for the reopening of its land border with Morocco in Ceuta and Melilla.
The commission has already held several meetings focused on Centa and Melilla border management. The borders in question have remained closed since March 14, 2020 following the global spread of COVID-19.
Spanish media reports that the Spanish government is hoping for the return of what it referred to as “a-typical” trade, illegal smuggling of goods from Ceuta and Melilla that cost Moroccan treasury to lose close to €270 million in customs taxes, while pouring close to €1,500 million into the Spanish economy.
Morocco suspended the illegal trafficking of goods unilaterally in October 2019. According to the same sources, the Spanish commission is bracing for the scenario that Morocco will definitely stop illegal trafficking.
The Spanish commission is deliberating on the possibility of establishing joint customs with Morocco, which will see the importing of goods to Morocco and exporting of agricultural produce to Spain. However, it’s unlikely that Morocco will accept the measure as it contests Morocco’s territorial sovereignty, explains the same source.
Spanish media attests that Morocco’s continuous effort to economically revive its northern regions are a clear sign that it no longer plans to rely on imported goods from Spain. In the scenario where Morocco will no longer rely on trade with Ceuta and Melilla, the two Spanish enclaves will become “island cities,” and will necessarily be in need of a new economic model, explains Spanish media.
Hence, the Spanish government will be faced with the necessity to develop a new socio–economic model for the two enclaves that no longer relies on illegal trade, which offers the Spanish economy unfair advantages over the Moroccan economy.