Sebta and Melilla an opening not to the taste of cross-border commuters

After more than two years and dusty border closures to stop the entry and exit of Dame Covid, the steps of Tarajal in Sebta or Bab Sebta in Morocco and Beni Enzar (Melilla) or Beni Ansar in Nador reopened on Tuesday in 00:00, their barriers to allow from this May 17 to the citizens of the European Union and their vehicles to circulate in both directions as well as the Moroccans residing in the EU or having the Schengen visa.

For cross-border workers, they will have to wait until May 31, same time and same place and stick to the words of the sovereign ministers of the Spanish executive, José Manuel Albares for Foreign Affairs and Fernando Grande-Marlaska for the Interior, who claimed that ” the reopening of border points will be “gradual and orderly” “.

First of all in terms of health, a vaccination pass is required for those over 12 years old, valid for 14 days after the administration of the last dose with possibly a booster dose (9 months) in which case a negative screening test certificate (PCR less than 72 h or antigenic less than 24 h) is required.

In fact, to enter the borders of the occupied enclaves, passengers will now have to have a foreigner’s identity card (TIE) for “Tarjeta de Identidad de Extrangeros”, a specific visa for enclaves with a passport in force, these are the points keys for daily transit from side to side. In short, this second phase will begin, with “legally recognized” border workers who will now be able to access the two enclaves.

According to sources from the Spanish Interior, by the way, it would be a group of about 200 people in all. However, the census carried out before the arrival of the pandemic revealed that more than 2,000 Moroccans – mostly women dedicated to housework – were employed in the presides.

This, it is said, should serve as a thermometer to measure the new stage of the relationship between Madrid and Rabat, sealed just over a month ago after a year of disagreements between neighboring countries. We will have understood it by following other looks, no more bundles! let lady-mule pass it to us. To this end, on the other side of the river, the police presence has been reinforced by the Ministry of the Interior. These reinforcements were considered, as imagined, insufficient by the unions. But we can readily see the grognard Spanish side as to this end.

Another fact, which the troublemakers of going around in circles did not hide from mentioning, the opening of the borders and precisely that with Sebta coincides as if to ward off fate with the anniversary of the bathing for two days, of thousands of immigrants , in Sebta, which the authorities of the two occupied enclaves readily attribute to the permissiveness or laxity of the Moroccan authorities. Casually it makes people talk on the other side of the shore.

That said, in this agreed reopening, and this is where one of the keys lies, no one will be able to transport “any type of goods from one barrier to another” nor to the entrance or the exit and what is more “not even as a passenger”. It is the imposition of Morocco, we say in Spain, so that the images of mule women become part of the icons of the past and go down in history. Yet these commercial activities – referred to with euphemisms as “atypical trade” or more clearly “smuggling” – served as a livelihood for countless Moroccan families residing in neighboring towns.

Let it be said, by virtue of non-agreements sealed on certain points in what is now called the new stage of relations or “full normalization” of the movement of people, but also of goods which must be included, the event that some are expecting will include “the appropriate customs and police control systems” on both sides.

Good to know, the border crossing at Tarajal is still under construction, so those who decide to cross this point are asked to be careful, given the current circumstances, especially in terms of vehicle use.

Like Morocco, Spain will not allow entry to Sebta with “any type of goods”, nor as travelers of the rest, “Not even a bag of tomatoes”, specified the person in charge of the Foreign health in Sebta. That says it all about the prevailing atmosphere.


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