MADRID – The Spanish government is considering renouncing the special deal between Moroccan towns into Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. This deal allows visa free entry, and as such if scrapped, would mean Moroccans require a visa to enter.Effectively, it would include Melilla and Ceuta in the Schengen area. Currently anyone travelling from Morocco to mainland Spain, or to the islands would require doing so by air or sea. Therefore, on arrival as with any other country in the Schengen group, a visa would be required.
European border controls
Therefore, if a visa system is put in place, this would include European controls situated at the land borders of Ceuta and Melilla and Morocco.
Renouncing the special deal would certainly reduce migrant pressure and the impact on services within the Spanish enclaves. It would also allow the authorities in Ceuta and Melilla to be more in control of who enters their cities.
This news comes at a time when there is much tension between the two countries. The latest diplomatic crisis blew up in first of all in April. This was after Spain admitted Algerian-backed Polisario Front leader, Brahim Ghali, for medical treatment with a false identity. Rabat was not informed by Spanish authorities.
Following this, Morocco appeared turn a blind eye and relax border controls with Ceuta on May 17. This led to an influx of almost 10,000 migrants. However, most of these migrants have now been returned.
Before Rabat closed the borders due to the pandemic, several thousand people made the crossing from Morocco to Ceuta and Melilla every day to “import goods” or to work.