The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, met at the end of the week in Madrid with the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of migration, Margaritis Schinas. This meeting comes amid the controversy that arose after Schinas’ statements on Sebta and Melilla.
According to Iberian media, José Manuel Albares and Margaritis Schinas met on Friday in Madrid to discuss the next Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, which will begin on July 1, 2023, and to address issues such as the migration, education and health, among others. This meeting comes in a tense context between Morocco and Spain, about the Moroccanness of Sebta and Melilla.
For these media, this meeting becomes relevant after the protest presented by Morocco due to certain statements in which Schinas referred to Sebta and Melilla as Spanish cities“.
For his part, the Vice-President of the European Commission described the meeting as “productive”, stressing the importance of cooperation in key areas such as migration, education and security. Schinas expressed his will to move forward in the creation of strategic alliances that promote stability, prosperity and opportunity for both Europeans and citizens of the world.
As a reminder, Schinas had declared, during a European forum on security and defense held on May 11, that “Morocco politically exploits the migrant card”, accusing it of resorting to “hybrid threats” and using migrants as “a weapon” by mixing events on the Greek-Turkish border (Evros in 2020), and those in the occupied enclaves of Sebta and Melilla.
Morocco, in reaction to these declarations, officially expressed its strong protests via a note addressed through the management of the European Union to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad. In particular, he attached in his missive a list including all of the Greek’s overruns and his hostile positions in Morocco since May 2021, while calling for “a definitive end to this attitude of hostility to maintain calm cooperation with the EU”.
In response, the Spanish government also sent a note verbale to Morocco to convey its complaint regarding this note in which Rabat declared that Sebta and Melilla are Moroccan cities.