Congress control session

Sánchez accuses Casado of taking advantage of calamities: "Spain suffers a challenge from Morocco"

The leader of the PP calls on the Spanish Prime Minister to rectify his foreign policy and break with Podemos

3 min
The Spanish President, Pedro Sanchez, arriving Tuesday in Ceuta by helicopter.

MadridEvery time Spain suffers a humanitarian and migratory crisis on the southern border, a new front opens up between the Spanish government and the opposition. Morocco knows it well and takes advantage of this weakness.  Despite the fact that Pablo Casado called Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday taking an interest in the crisis in Ceuta and giving his full support to "guarantee the territorial integrity" of the State, this consensus has been shattered this Wednesday during the control session in Parliament, in which the crisis with Morocco has come to monopolise the face to face between the Spanish government and the opposition and not the pandemic, as was usual, and even more so after the end of the state of alarm. Although the leader of the PP extended a hand to the Spanish president, he also called on him to rectify his foreign policy and accused him of fuelling the problems with Morocco. "This was the chronicle of a crisis foretold", he said. Sánchez has accused the head of the opposition of using any "calamity" to try to "overthrow the government of Spain". "Not only is he disloyal to the [Spanish] government, but he is disloyal to the general interest of the Spanish people", the president has replied.

After a day of trying not to point the finger at Rabat in the crisis in Ceuta, Sánchez has taken the step and acknowledged that "Spain is suffering a challenge from a third country, which is Morocco". That is why he has asked above all for the unity of all political forces, especially the conservative ones. Vox has not hesitated from the first moment to speak of "invasion" and to ask for forcefulness. The Moncloa has responded with an offensive of the entire executive, with the deployment of the army - with images of support for people crossing the border, but also others broadcast by journalists of truncheon blows to young people who appear to be minors - and the express trip of Sánchez to both Ceuta and Melilla on Tuesday afternoon. A visit that Rabat could consider a challenge, but which for the moment has resulted in a lower flow of arrivals.

Spanish government sources predict that "the situation will soon return to normal" because in no case has it been a migration crisis like the one in the Canary Islands, in their opinion, but an "assault". The Moncloa continues to tread lightly with Morocco and assures that it is a "friend of Spain" and that it trusts that the ambassador will soon return to normalise relations. The fact is that the arrival of people has slowed down after the council of ministers approved an emergency aid of 30 million euros for Morocco for the police deployment against illegal immigration.

4.800 returns and 169 minors in a camp

According to Sánchez, up to this morning up to 4,800 people who had crossed the border had been returned and 169 minors had been transferred to a camp inside Ceuta. The Home Affairs Ministry assures that no children or adolescents have been returned, but there are images that show minors being returned. Be that as it may, it is yet another sign of the coalition government's backtracking on its promises. The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, came to the executive with the promise to remove the concertinas in both Ceuta and Melilla, he also promised to put an end to deportations, and Sánchez wanted to set himself up as the European president who responds to the crisis in the Mediterranean by accepting the arrival of the Aquarius boat of Open Arms in Valencia in the summer of 2018, when he had just arrived at the Moncloa.

However, all these policies have remained a dead letter, as Casado recalled this Wednesday. He believes, however, that Sánchez has weakened relations with Morocco by the fact that he did not go to Rabat on his first official trip after being chosen, as was tradition; that he protested the decision of former US President Donald Trump, last December, to recognise the authority of Morocco over Western Sahara, and, finally, that he decided to welcome the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali, under a false identity in a hospital in Logroño without informing Rabat. The PP leader has called for a rectification and warned that the "chaos" in the Spanish government is the greatest weakness at the international level, despite the fact that the European Union has supported Sánchez in the crisis in Ceuta. "He has shown that the government is too big for him. In his opinion, he will find more loyalty in the opposition than in the council of ministers, despite the fact that the PP's number two, Teodoro García Egea, a few minutes later asked the government to "start packing its bags" because this is a "decaying government".