The Spanish government has made the decision to reopen the country’s border with Morocco, effective as of the 17th of May. The borders at the southern crossing into the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa have been closed for over two years, since March of 2020.
Ernesto Vilariño, Secretary-General of Jucil—the largest professional association of members of the Spanish Civil Guard—commented that Spain’s Minister of Interior has failed to reach any of the objectives to which he committed in order to address the migration crisis. As a result, the border at Ceuta is reopening “without the effective measures that would be necessary in order to guarantee the city’s security.”
Vilariño added that this could lead to chaos, given that the government’s allocation of personnel is such that, judging by average transit of persons prior to the close of the border, between two and four guards will be responsible for the transit of 20,000 people (3000 vehicles).
In my opinion, the border shouldn’t be reopened in this way. The border is still undergoing construction works, not enough civil guards are available and existing infrastructure is not consummate with the volume of persons and vehicles likely to attempt entry.
It now remains to be seen how things develop, but it seems likely that if Spanish policy angers Morocco, the latter will again use migration as a weapon to pressure its northern neighbor.