It is a fact, the economic crisis linked to the Dame Covid pandemic, which the vast majority of countries are currently going through, is not to the taste of good business. The crisis currently experienced by the occupied enclaves of Sebta and Melilla by the commercial community is even more significant, aggravated in this by the absence of effective economic alternatives after the borders with Morocco.
The economic paralysis that followed was fatal to many activities, particularly the smuggling of goods. A freeze that inevitably led to the bankruptcy of many Spanish entrepreneurs. In this regard, the “Europe Press” news agency reported that the Merchants Association of Melilla has made warehouses and shops available to the local government, in order to attract foreign investment in order to overcome the repercussions of Dame Covid. The media said local traders have expressed their desire to have these commercial warehouses to launch new industrial activities that would revive the commercial area.
Especially since a socio-economic rescue plan is already underway in Madrid, with at least half a dozen measures. The Spanish Executive examining the inclusion of Sebta and Melilla in the customs union and the reform of the economic and social regime of the two occupied presidents. It also aims to improve connections with the Peninsula and generate a space of “shared prosperity”, an expression that the Executive also uses in relations with Gibraltar.
In addition, he advocates a revival of port activity, which suffered in the case of Melilla from competition from the neighboring port of Nador. But all that is ideal and nothing at the moment has yet come to ratify all these good wishes. In the meantime, Sebta and Melilla are suffocating economically every day a little more and the phenomenon has been going on for two years.
The economic actors of the two enclaves are constantly holding meetings with the public authorities in order to find new alternatives to their misfortunes. On the other hand and with regard to the borders, Morocco has made its decision as to the crossings which will only be affected to passenger traffic in the future. An uncertain future since the dates for the reopening of the crossing points in Sebta and Melilla have not yet been defined and therefore remain very vague.
Some of the Spanish sources link this to the last born of Dame Covid, “Omicron”, others attribute it more readily to the diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Rabat, in short, there is no shortage of reasons. The Spanish government, for its part, has anticipated a reopening of the borders of the occupied presidencies of Sebta and Melilla after the improvement of the epidemiological situation.
According to the Iberian newspaper El Pais, citing government sources, the Spanish Executive has set up a committee made up of representatives of six sectoral ministries to prepare for the future opening of the enclave crossing points with Morocco. The government is preparing a roadmap to find alternative economic solutions in the two occupied cities, since the “old economic scenario” of smuggling is now a turned page.
The design of the new strategy for Ceuta and Melilla is in the hands of the Ministry of Territorial Policy. Last summer Spain warned that it was considering including the two cities in the European area without borders or in the Schengen Treaty, which would amount to requiring a visa from all Moroccans residing in neighboring provinces to enter in Sebta and Melilla. Madrid had felt that Rabat wanted to open up, partially and on terms that benefited them. In the meantime, it’s the status quo.