Pedro Sanchez: Morocco, ‘Friendly’ Country and ‘Fundamental Ally’ for Spain’s Security and Development

Morocco is a ”friendly” country and a ”fundamental ally” for the security and economic development of Spain, said, Wednesday, president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez. “Morocco is a friendly country, a fundamental ally for the economic development of Spain and our gateway to Africa, as well as a fundamental ally for our security and in the management of orderly immigration in our country and on the European continent”, stressed Sanchez before the Spanish Congress of Deputies. “Spain and Morocco have adopted, in April 2022, a roadmap with clear objectives. In this context, the work done during the past year has resulted in a very positive assessment”, said the president of the Spanish government, stressing that the two countries have opened ”a new stage on much more solid foundations”. In this context, Sanchez said he was “convinced” that the objectives of the last High Level Meeting, held last February in Rabat, “have been largely fulfilled”, recalling that this meeting has allowed the conclusion of a score of bilateral agreements. Since the signing of the Joint Declaration in April 2022, sea and air links have been resumed, the Marhaba operation has been successfully organized and discussions to re-establish the Tarfaya-Fuerteventura shipping line have been relaunched, he said. In addition, Sanchez welcomed the bilateral cooperation on migration, noting that the results of the “good management” of this issue are “eloquent”. “Today, the Atlantic route is the only route in Europe that is decreasing in a context of general increase of irregular migration to the European continent”, noted the president of the Spanish Government, specifying that in the first quarter of 2023, the arrivals of irregular migrants have dropped by 63% in the Canary Islands, while in Greece and Italy, they have increased by 95% and 300% respectively. Regarding economic and trade cooperation, Sanchez said that the level of exports between Spain and Morocco approached 12 billion euros in 2022, adding that this trend is increasingly consolidated. “For the first time in the history of democracy in our country, we have the great opportunity to place relations between Spain and Morocco under the sign of a genuine and mutually beneficial cooperation”, said Sanchez, stressing that ”the strategic relationship with Morocco is based on mutual respect, the absence of unilateral actions and systematic compliance with agreements”. Based on the new roadmap, adopted on April 7, 2022 on the occasion of the visit of Pedro Sanchez to Morocco, at the invitation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the two countries are committed, among other things, to address issues of common interest in a “spirit of trust and consultation”, while reactivating the working groups created between the two countries to revive multisectoral bilateral cooperation.