Morocco has entered into negotiations with Spain and the European Union (EU) with a view to resuming cooperation on migration matters. In this context, EU delegates held meetings with the Interior Ministry in Rabat which resulted in the signing of new cooperation agreements.
Morocco has just reactivated its cooperation with Spain and the EU in the field of border protection and the fight against migratory flows. The new agreements signed in Rabat provide for the reinforcement of the Royal Armed Forces in vehicles and border security cameras. This support aims to strengthen the operational capacities of Moroccan institutions in integrated border management, particularly in terms of border surveillance (land and sea), the fight against smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings.
Since 2014, Europe has granted 232 million euros in aid to Morocco. The funds have enabled the Moroccan Interior Ministry to acquire drones, maritime radars, portable GPS, mapping systems, surveillance devices and more than a thousand vehicles of different classes as well as motorcycles.
This EU support for Morocco appears to worry some human rights defenders who fear Morocco will use the equipment for other purposes. “It is dual-use technological material, because it is intended for civilian use as harmless material, but it can also be used for law enforcement action,” explained Javier G. Vega, professor of international law and relations of international organizations, alluding to the conflict between the Polisario Front and Morocco in the Sahara.
On the Spanish side, the resumption of migration cooperation is a harbinger of the resumption of diplomatic relations with Morocco. The Spanish authorities hope that the high-level summit between the two countries can be held soon. They also call for a meeting between Kings Mohammed VI and Pedro Sánchez before the end of the year or early 2022.
The resumption of cooperation between Morocco and the EU comes in a particular context of crises marked by the severance in August of diplomatic relations between Rabat and Algiers, and the subsequent closure of the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline, not to mention the threats of war from the Front. Polisario, supported by Algeria, against Morocco. The tension was exacerbated last week with the death of three Algerian truckers in the Sahara of which Algeria accuses Morocco.