VOX is continuing to pressure the Spanish government, as well as, indirectly, its potential future coalition-partners on the center-right. It has issued a parliamentary proposal for the government to close the border with Morocco until the latter explicitly recognizes Spanish sovereignty over the two North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
This came on the heels of a recent meeting between the president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the Moroccan king, Mohammed VI, in Rabat—during which the Spanish flag was hoisted upside-down, which some commentators are interpreting as a deliberate provocation.
The socialist-led government has accepted Morocco’s position with respect to the western Sahara (a former Spanish colony), a move it is justifying on the grounds that this will alleviate tensions over Ceuta and Melilla. Despite this justification, however, the two cities were not mentioned during the meeting between Sánchez and king Mohammed, which raised red flags.
Morocco’s recent indirect assault on Ceuta, encouraging thousands of immigrants to rush the border, and the concessions it has extracted from the Spanish government, have been cited by VOX as evidence of an aggressive trajectory in need of checking.
The party has already pressured the government into taking a stronger position concerning these territories, reminding Congress of its responsibility with respect to cities that have been Spanish since 1415 (in the case of Ceuta) and 1496 (in the case of Melilla), and were built on land that was part of the Roman diocese of Hispania and the Visigoth Regnum Hispaniae—cities that never belonged to Morocco. Indeed, Morocco recognized its northern neighbor’s sovereignty over them through the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1860, a recognition that was reiterated in 1956.
The call for border-closure only adds to escalating tension, compounded by Spain’s energy requirements and its dependency on Algeria in this regard. It remains to be seen how the situation will develop if, come election season, VOX enters into a coalition government, leading to a dramatic sea-change in geopolitics with respect to the current socialist president of government.