“To protect the cooperation framework between Spain and Morocco, the borders must be recognized”


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The aMoroccan territorial spirations over Ceuta and Melilla it is something that should not be lost sight of. That is the opinion of Carlos Echeverría, director of the Ceuta and Melilla Observatory, who believes that the problems of the autonomous cities go beyond the local. For this reason, special attention must be paid to them, appealing to action by the State and the European institutions, which must be clear about their “responsibilities”.

During the presentation of the “Report Ceuta and Melilla, land border of Spain and the European Union in Africa”, at the headquarters of the Madrid Press Association, Echeverría pointed out that it is it is urgent to equip oneself with arguments to counter “simplistic” opinions with respect to the Spanish autonomous cities, alluding to the classification of colonies that is sometimes carried out.

During the presentation, one of the authors of the report, the professor of Public International Law Romualdo Bermejo Garcia has stressed the importance of recognition and respect for borders to maintain the framework of cooperation and friendship between Spain and Morocco. “The lack of recognized borders generates mistrust between neighboring states,” warns the lawyer.

Labeling Ceuta and Melilla as colonies is an outrage

In addition, Bermejo has argued that we must not lose sight of the particularities that cover the borders of Ceuta and Melilla with the neighboring country, which are not only territorial but also economic and social. In the report itself, Bermejo affirms that describing Ceuta and Melilla as colonies “is not only a crass error, but a legal outrage».

Echeverría points out that it is necessary to equip oneself with arguments in these aspects, to counteract what in his opinion are simplistic opinions and of relative frequency about the status of autonomous cities and their borders with Morocco, something that “History, economics and politics clearly define”, has pointed out.

Colonel also participated in the writing of the study, apart from Bermejo. Antonio Sierras, head of the complaint of the Civil Guard of Melilla, and Enrique Avila, political scientist and sociologist, secretary of the university center of the UNED in Ceuta.

The importance of cities in their surroundings

The report consists of three aspects, each one carried out by one of its authors: a legal approach to the question of the border by Bermejo, the idiosyncrasy generated by the border seen in the Melilla case analysis, by Sierras and the role of immigration in all its slopes as one of the main factors that affect the Autonomous Cities carried out by Ávila.

In his section, Colonel Sierras warns of the temptation to apply similar ratios to Ceuta and Melilla than to the rest of Spanish territories. In your opinion, you have to take into account the role that both cities play in their geographic environment, being providing social, health, educational and job offer services to its Moroccan neighbors. Or, for example, the stability and security that the presence of Melilla in the Rif region.

Finally, Ávila analyzes the migratory phenomenon on the border of the autonomous cities with Morocco, where it occurs the most accentuated division in the world according to the Human Development Index. Furthermore, given the Spanish nature of the territory –and therefore European–, immigration is presented for young Moroccans as a «liberation».

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