After the recent migratory influx into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta caused by a deliberate relaxation of border controls, the European Parliament accused Morocco of using underage migrants as a “means of pressure”.
The European Parliament accused Rabat on June 10 of using underage migrants as a “means of political pressure”. The text proposed by Spanish parliamentarians and adopted by 397 votes in favor (85 against and 196 abstentions) “rejects the use by Morocco of border controls and migration, in particular of unaccompanied minors, as a means of political pressure on a Member State of the Union ”.
The European Parliament also called on “Spain and Morocco to work closely together to bring children back to their families”.
The arrival in mid-May of more than 10,000 migrants in Ceuta, including many minors, thanks to a deliberate relaxation of border controls by Morocco, marked the culmination of a major crisis between Rabat and Madrid.
It was caused by the hospitalization in Spain of the leader of the Saharawi separatists of the Polisario Front, considered by Morocco as a “war criminal”, but supported by Algeria. Brussels had expressed its solidarity with Spain and called on Morocco to stop the flow of migrants.
“The problems of Ceuta and Melilla are European and their borders are the borders of the whole Union”, underlined Juan Ignacio Zoido Alvarez, Spanish MEP (EPP, right), during a debate on June 10 in the morning in the parliament of Strasbourg. He denounced Morocco’s “inappropriate” reaction and called for “reestablishing good neighborly relations”.
Echoing Madrid’s position, the Spanish socialist Nacho Sanchez Amor considered “worrying [que] some choose to give up the diplomatic channel to resort to solutions which are not worthy of friends ”. “The goal is to get out of this abnormal situation,” he insisted.
It is essential to strengthen our cooperation based on dialogue, responsibility, mutual trust and respect
“We are confident that such a situation will not happen again”, tempered the European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli while recalling that Morocco was a “key ally” of the EU, particularly in terms of migration regulation.
“It is essential to strengthen our cooperation based on dialogue, responsibility, mutual trust and respect,” she said.
The European Parliament’s resolution has no binding force on Morocco. Concerned about its image and its good relations with the EU, the kingdom had in advance denounced the motion presented by the Spanish MEPs as a “maneuver which aims to Europeanize a bilateral crisis”.
“This initiative is part of an attempt to divert attention from a purely bilateral political crisis between Morocco and Spain,” said the president of the country’s chamber of representatives Habib El Malki in a press release published on the 7th. June.