El ministro español de Exteriores en un foro empresarial hispano-marroquí en Rabat en 2012.
Luis Ayllón. Madrid
The Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, will travel tomorrow Monday, to Rabat to continue discussions with his Moroccan equivalent, Salaheddine Mezouar, and attend a meeting with Spanish businessmen, whom he will urge to continue with their investments and commercial relations with Morocco. García-Margallo will also meet with the First Minister, Abdelillah Benkirán.
García-Margallo’s visit follows on from encounters already had with Mezouar, in December, when they met in Brussels, and in October, when the Moroccan minister travelled officially to Spain and was received by the King. During that visit there were in-depth discussions on the economic relations between both countries, which have been growing, despite some setbacks suffered by Spanish businessmen in Morocco.
It has been calculated that more than 20,000 Spanish businesses maintain relations with Morocco, which has become Spain’s second most important bilateral partner outside the European Union, after the United States. More than 800 Spanish enterprises have invested there and the growth of commercial exchanges has placed Spain as Morocco’s most important commercial partner. In 2013, Spanish exports to Morocco reached 5,500 million Euros, at the same time as imports from the neighbouring country were close to 3,500 million Euros.
One of the economic matters which could be discussed by García- Margallo with the Moroccan authorities is the Fisheries Accord between the European Union and Rabat which, since last February is awaiting the signature of Mohamed VI, because Morocco does not accept the new conditions imposed on their vegetables’ access to the European market. The delay in putting the agreement in place profoundly affects about one hundred Spanish boats that have been moored in port for two years and four months.
It has not been ruled out that the Minister may be received by Mohamed VI
Political relations between the two countries have been smooth lately and there has even been close collaboration from the point of view of policing, when dealing with the problem of migratory pressure undergone by Ceuta and Melilla.
Although the programme of the visit is limited to those acts, reliable sources consulted by The Diplomat suggest it hasn’t been ruled out that there be an audience with Mohamed VI, as sometimes happens with the visits carried out by Spanish Foreign Ministers. The Minister could then pass on a greeting from King Juan Carlos I, given the relationship that exists between both monarchs and the succession process that is being undergone in Spain. Either way, Mohamed VI already spoke on the phone with King Juan Carlos I and with the future Philip VI, when he heard news of the abdication, as both royal houses have very close ties and the last visit the King of Spain carried out to Morocco took place less than a year ago, in July 2013.