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Spain Opposes New Official Morocco Map, Including Ceuta, Melilla

Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE/S&D) of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said it firmly rejects the recent publication of an official map of Morocco’s territory that includes the Spanish autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, while the regional president of Melilla has demanded that Madrid lodges a formal protest with Rabat. The website of the Moroccan embassy in Madrid has recently published a map on which Ceuta and Melilla appear as part of the North African country’s territory. Ceuta and Melilla are considered migration hotspots on the EU’s southern borders, and the topic is one of the main bones of contention between Spain and Morocco. The PSOE branch in Melilla expressed its “total rejection”, while the regional president of Melilla, Juan José Imbroda of the centre-right Partido Popular (PP/EPP), the main opposition force in the country, demanded that Madrid lodge a “formal complaint”.

Imbroda believes this “is a total affront to our nation, to our Constitution, to our history and sovereignty”. While government coalition talks are ongoing following the early elections held on 23 July, Imbroda urged the executive of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to submit “a formal and severe protest” to the Moroccan ambassador in Madrid, Karima Benyaich. “It seems to me to be an enormous absurdity, but it seems worse to me that our authorities, our national government representatives, have not opened their mouths” after this “interference and meddling” in the sovereignty of the two autonomous cities, Imbroda stressed, as reported by the regional newspaper Melilla Hoy. The PP politician made it clear that the people of Melilla had felt “deeply and proudly Spanish” for almost 526 years, almost five centuries before “Morocco was born, politically speaking”, with its independence – from France – as a nation in 1956.

‘Spanishness’ of Ceuta and Melilla

Although there has been no formal protest from Spain to Morocco, the secretary general of the PSOE of Melilla and spokesperson of the Socialist Group in the Assembly of that autonomous city, Gloria Rojas, stressed that “Melilla and Ceuta are and always will be an indissoluble part of the Spanish nation”. “It is intolerable that anyone, either inside or outside our borders, should question our Spanishness, and we will not tolerate it (the leaders of the PSOE) demonstrate this with words and deeds”, she stressed, as quoted by El Faro de Melilla.

Rojas recalled that Pedro Sánchez always defends that both autonomous cities are part of Spain: “he makes it very clear every time he states that Melilla and Ceuta are Spain, full stop (…) they are and always will be, just like Gijón, Toledo or Málaga”, the socialist politician stated. On the other hand, she recalled that the only Spanish prime ministers who have visited both autonomous cities on official trips have been those of the PSOE. “It is under (PSOE) governments that the most have been invested in both cities and when more policies and measures have been implemented to guarantee the quality of life of citizens and the present and future of our cities”, Rojas concluded.