Algeria freezes trade and political relations with Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Algeria Spain relations

 

 

The European Commission considers the decision of the Algerian authorities to freeze their commercial and political relations with Spain “extremely worrying”. It therefore, invites Algeria to reconsider this decision.

The freezing of relations and the breaking of the friendship treaty by Algeria is a reaction to the abrupt change of position of the President of the Spanish Government on the issue of Western Sahara.  

Morocco wants the Western Sahara to have a far-reaching form of autonomy. But this would mean the kingdom would then retain control over foreign policy and defence. Consequently, Algeria is strongly opposed to this and supports the independence movement in the region, Polisario. 

Since March, after having been neutral for a long time, Spain has backed Morocco’s autonomy plans for the annexed region. Prime Minister Sánchez defended this decision in parliament on Wednesday. 

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Dialogue and diplomacy 

The crisis between the two countries must be resolved ‘through dialogue and diplomatic channels’. But for the time being it is something ‘between the two countries’ i.e. without direct intervention from the EU. This is despite the fact that the Algerian decision violates the EU-Algeria Association Agreement. 

The Commission does not rule out a report on the consequences of this split between Algiers and Madrid. But this will most likely reflect the fact that another European country, namely Italy , has quickly taken over the commercial and economic positions of ousted Spain. 

‘We are analysing the implications and the national and European practical scope in order to give an adequate, serene, constructive and firm response in defence of the interests of Spain and Spanish companies’, official sources report. The Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, said on Thursday he would give ‘a serene, constructive response in defence of Spain’.  

Also read: Algeria gas price for Spain

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