Moroccan-Spanish Permanent Joint Migration Group to meet

The Moroccan-Spanish Permanent Joint Migration Group will meet today in Rabat. Morocco and Spain are working to reopen their shared

The Moroccan-Spanish Permanent Joint Migration Group will meet today as the two countries work to reopen their shared borders after two years of closures – Photo: Juan Medina/Reuters

The Moroccan-Spanish Permanent Joint Migration Group will meet today in Rabat.

Morocco and Spain are working to reopen their shared borders along the Spanish autonomous regions of Ceuta and Melilla, which have remained closed for over two years due to pandemic-enforced restrictions. Despite the resumption of maritime travel last month, the borders are not expected to open until May 15.

The increase in border security cooperation follows Spain’s endorsement of the Morocco Autonomy Plan on the Sahara and the issuance of a joint declaration on bilateral ties—ending a year-long diplomatic spat and Madrid’s decades-long neutrality on Rabat’s post-colonial claims to Western Sahara.

Morocco’s claims are contested both by the Sahrawi Indigenous Polisario Front and rivaling Algeria. As Moroccan-Spanish tensions improve, diplomacy with Algeria has additionally worsened over the supply of natural gas via Morocco.

In the short-term, Spain and Morocco will focus on mitigating the migration of Moroccans to Europe through Ceuta and Melilla. While Spain has joined the US, EU and UN in support of Morocco’s sovereignty claims, all backers equally support a negotiated deal with the Polisario Front. However, negotiations have been postponed for years—and are likely to remain so—as neither side can agree on the make-up of the Indigenous Sahrawi.

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