King Felipe VI of Spain commended on Monday Morocco’s economic sector, underscoring its high potential. King Felipe VI also emphasized the importance of the bilateral relations between the two kingdoms in a speech delivered at the opening of the 26th National Congress of Family Business.
In his speech, the Spanish sovereign underlined that Morocco has “economic sectors with high potential,” highlighting the “presence of many leading Spanish companies in Morocco.”
He also emphasized that Moroccan businessmen’s participation in this event “can help better understand the importance of relations with our neighboring country, Morocco.”
In order to delve deeper into the significance of King Felipe VI’s speech about Morocco as an important ally to Spain, and the status quo of the bilateral relations between the two kingdoms, MoroccoLatestNews contacted Ali Lahrichi, who works at the Institute of Political, Legal and Social Sciences at Mundiapolis University.
Lahrichi underscored that “The Moroccan invitation as an honorary guest in this important event held in Spain every year is of high significance that highlights the importance of Morocco and the importance of economic and political relations between the two countries.”
The political expert in Politics viewed that King Felipe VI’s speech highlighted Morocco’s importance as a key partner for Spain, especially considering the geographical proximity between the two Kingdoms. “Spain has been Morocco’s main trading partner for more than 10 years, with trade exchanges reaching approximately 20 million euros annually,” explained the expert.
Concerning the King’s remark about the presence of over a thousand Spanish companies in Morocco, Lahrichi said to MoroccoLatestNews, “This acknowledgment further emphasizes the pivotal role that Morocco plays in the Mediterranean region, particularly as Spain’s European neighbor. Together, the two countries face common challenges –be they economic, environmental, and security domains.
These challenges further solidify the need for collaboration and cooperation, according to Lahrichi.
As to the question about the status quo of the bilateral relations between the two Kingdoms, the expert emphasized that “The bilateral relations are currently in a favorable state, largely due to the recent actions taken by Pedro Sanchez as the Prime Minister”
“However, the Spanish state’s recognition of the Moroccanness of the Sahara, and Spain’s involvement in the political solution proposed by Morocco as the best solution to the issue created by the other neighbor, Algeria, had a significant impact on international relations and the Spanish-Moroccan relations,” said the Expert in Politics.
Despite occasional differences, Spain remains a crucial trading partner for Morocco. Politically speaking, Spain’s recognition of the Moroccanness of the Sahara as well as the formation of multiple committees related to trade, economy, and industry, emphasized Lahrichi.
He said to MoroccoLatestNews, “These committees have been instrumental in strengthening the bilateral relations, especially since their formation was directly a result of the message sent by the Spanish Prime Minister to King Mohammed VI as well as a high-level meeting between the heads of governments, enabling the consolidation of this bilateral relationship.”
What further showcases the strong commitment of the two kingdoms to strengthening ties is the resurgence of the Strait of Gibraltar project after 40 years of pending. Also, the right to jointly organize the World Cup 2030 by Morocco, Spain, and Portugal “is an extension of this relationship and friendship, further solidifying the ties between the two countries,” said Lahrichi.
He said, “It underscored the alignment of the common interests of both kingdoms,” adding that “There are several common challenges between Morocco and Spain as well, including migration, security, and trade, all of which have a direct impact on the citizens of both countries.”
Lahrichi concluded the interview with MoroccoLatestNews stating that “The speech of the Spanish king at the important forum, which invited Morocco as an honorary guest, truly demonstrates that the relations are heading in a positive direction and towards improvement.”
During the 26th National Congress of Family Bussiness, which included representatives of around 600 family businesses, King Felipe VI seized the opportunity to reiterate his country’s solidarity with Morocco after the earthquake that struck the Al-Haouz province on September 8.
It is worth noting that Morocco accepted aid from Spain to help with quake rescue efforts based on a precise assessment of the needs on the ground.
The 26th National Congress of Family Business, to which Morocco was invited as a guest of honor, was held on October 23-24.
This two-day meeting, organized by the Family Business Institute (IEF) in collaboration with the Basque Country Family Business Association (Aefame), has become Spain’s most important business forum.
In April 2022, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez came to Rabat for a two-day visit that sought to offset diplomatic tensions between the two neighbors after nearly a year of standstill.
It was an occasion to emphasize the strength of the historical, political, economic, and cultural relations that united both kingdoms.
Sanchez’s surprising shift from decades of supporting the United Nations-backed referendum to recognizing Morocco’s autonomy plan wedged relations with Spanish political parties.
His socialist party received no support in Spain’s Parliament, which accused him of betraying the Sahrawi people. Sanchez responded to the accusations by stating that he was working in the best interests of Spain.
In February 2023, Sanchez emphasized the importance of his country’s relations with Morocco, as well as the shared goal of entering a new stage that would allow them to capitalize on the full potential offered by these renewed, trust-based relations, during the Morocco-Spain Economic Forum held on the sidelines of the High-Level Meeting (HLM).
This new economic partnership would allow Moroccan and Spanish companies to prosper, according to Sanchez, who announced the signing of a new financing protocol worth 800 million euros to fund new projects of mutual interest carried out by Spanish companies in Morocco.
On his part, Akhannouch stressed that the strength of the Moroccan-Spanish relationship was fueled by the positive dynamics of bilateral trade, during the same meeting.