EU responds to Morocco’s alleged desire to ‘retake’ Ceuta and Melilla

by Lorraine Williamson
Ceuta and Melilla

MADRID – A few days ago, the Moroccan medium Hespress, the most read in the country, published information that Morocco would carry out a discreet project to “reconquer” Ceuta and Melilla and take control of the Canary Islands. 

The medium quoted a former Spanish intelligence agent, Fernando San Agustín. According to him, King Mohammed VI’s plan has been progressing for some time. According to this information, in the eyes of Moroccan society, the Spanish domination of these cities has no historical basis and is therefore not considered valid. Morocco still referred to the two cities as “Moroccan” in a recent letter to the EU delegation in Rabat. 

This is not the first time that senior Moroccan officials have spoken in these terms about the two autonomous Spanish cities on Morocco’s northern coast. 

The MEPs from Ciudadanos, Maite Pagazaurtundua and Jordi Cañas, reacted fairly quickly with a parliamentary question to the European Commission. They condemned Morocco’s “unacceptable comments” about the two enclaves and asked whether Brussels was considering reviewing the agreements with Morocco. The committee again responded through Josep Borrell, the High Representative for European Foreign Policy. 

Cogesa Expats

Borrell’s statements reaffirm the EU’s firm position on Spanish sovereignty over the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. He stressed that Ceuta and Melilla are part of Spain and the European Union. They also underline the importance of continued cooperation between the EU and Morocco. The answer seems to put an end to any speculation about a change in the status of these areas. 

Borrell’s reply was: 

“The EU institutions have publicly confirmed the well-known official position on the importance of protecting the EU’s external borders. This was also the aim of Vice-President Schinas’ statements regarding the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, areas classified as belonging to the European Union and forming part of its external borders. Therefore, EU law applies to Ceuta and Melilla. No revision of the extensive and fruitful partnership between the EU and Morocco is envisaged.” 

Response from Spanish Prime Minister 

Prime Minister Sánchez of Spain was also clear. He even spent part of his summer vacation in Morocco. “Ceuta and Melilla are Spain, period,” Sanchez responded to Rabat’s claims in Congress. 

Also see: Is the Spain – Morocco tunnel project just a pipe dream, costing millions? 

You may also like