The Moroccan authorities have responded this Friday to the resolution issued by the European Parliament on Thursday against the use of unaccompanied minors as a method of pressure against Spain. The House of Representatives has done it first and then the Foreign Ministry. Both bodies have coincided in pointing out that the European institution has been “instrumentalized” by Spain, in its “attempt to Europeanize a bilateral crisis”. The Moroccan Parliament has specified that the reasons for the crisis are due to “the attitude and actions” of Spain regarding Western Sahara, which in its statement is referred to as “Moroccan Sahara.”
The Moroccan Foreign Department considers Spain’s responsibility in the crisis “proven” and frames this alleged “instrumentalization” of the European Parliament in a “logic of short-term political escalation”, a “maneuver” that “seeks to evade the debate on the deep reasons for the crisis ”. “He is not fooling anyone,” he concludes.
In the two statements from Morocco, where Spain is accused of trying to “Europeanize” a bilateral crisis, there is no mention of Germany, a key country of the European Union, with which Rabat has had another diplomatic crisis since March 2, when it suspended relations with his embassy in the Maghreb country after alleging “deep misunderstandings”. On May 6, Morocco called its ambassador to Germany, Zohour Alaoui, for consultations as a consequence of the “antagonistic activism” that according to Rabat, the German Government exercises with regard to the conflict in Western Sahara. Since then, no progress has been made in the crisis with Germany.
The Moroccan Foreign Ministry points out in its letter this Friday that “the instrumentalization” of the European Parliament is “counterproductive” and “tries to avoid the debate on the deep reasons for the crisis.” “Morocco, moreover, does not need any endorsement in its management of migration. The teacher and student stance no longer works. Paternalism is a dead end. It is not the punishment or the reward that induces the behavior, but the conviction of a shared responsibility ”, adds the statement.
The statements of Jordi Cañas, Spanish MEP, this Thursday in the European Parliament.
The resolution of the European Parliament, which was approved with 397 votes in favor, 85 against and 196 abstentions (out of a total of 678 votes cast), demands that Rabat respect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and reminds him the inviolability of the borders of the Member States of the European Union. The European institution expressed its “full solidarity” with the citizens of Ceuta and affirms that it was they, together with members of the Spanish Army, NGOs and the Spanish security forces, who prevented a “real tragedy” from taking place, among the migrants, most of whom “were Moroccans.”
The ministry headed by the diplomat Naser Burita, points out in its statement that the European Parliament tries to “stigmatize” Morocco, and undermines the principle of association. “As much as Morocco is satisfied with its relationship with the European Union, it considers that the problem continues to be with Spain, as long as the reasons that caused it are not resolved,” he adds.
Moroccan diplomacy, which always acts under the “high instructions” of King Mohamed VI, ensures that the figures in the fight against clandestine emigration prove the “quality” of its association with the European Union. And he points out: “Since 2017 alone, migratory cooperation has made it possible to abort more than 14,000 attempts at irregular migration, dismantle 5,000 human trafficking networks, rescue more than 80,500 migrants at sea and prevent innumerable assault attempts.”
The House of Representatives brief goes further and indicates that, on the issue of unaccompanied minors, “Morocco is at the forefront” and calls for its resolution since 2018. The view from the other side of the Strait cannot be more different in that respect. The latest data from the Ministry of the Interior, from May 2021, show that the autonomous communities guard 8,134 foreign minors. To this figure should be added the thousand minors who have been in Ceuta since Morocco allowed the entry of some 10,000 people during the week of May 17.
The vast majority of minors under guardianship in Spain are Moroccans. And the Spanish authorities have not been able to repatriate any of them for years. Between 2004 and 2019, Spain returned some 300 minors to their countries, including 158 Moroccans. More than two thirds of the returns were made between 2004 and 2006 and since then, they are an “ornamental” figure, to quote the expression of a prosecutor. The Spanish prosecutors have been reflecting in their reports for years the “little collaboration” of the Moroccan authorities. In 2010, for example, they directly qualified this collaboration as “null”.
Regarding the autonomous city of Ceuta, on which the resolution of the European Parliament expresses its “full solidarity”, the Moroccan Parliament “reiterates the legal status of this occupied Moroccan city”. The expression “occupied enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla”, “occupied prisons”, or “occupied cities” are commonly used in the Moroccan press. This time, however, it is the House of Representatives that handles the concept of occupation.
Full statement from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you can’t read it, click here.