Ceuta’s Institute of Studies
At the end of 2018, the assessment of disputes of Spanish foreign policy -leaving aside the three disagreements about which we will not talk about due to lack of news: Perejil, Islas Salvajes and Olivenza- presents the following panorama, with the logical uncertainties presiding over this historical and unresolved chapter, although not insoluble.
In Western Sahara the 43rd anniversary of the Green March is commemorated -some time later I began my journeys to the territory-. It is a date of easier enunciation than of full understanding because years go by with the controversy blocked while in the background consolidates the situation with all that it entails, beginning with the cancellation of interests and principles that, immovable, are outside the operational framework.
Located at this point and without any signs of variation on the horizon, with the different actors executing the usual variations on the same melody, the only undeniable reference is the legal one: the requirement to hold a referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people.
It seems already unquestionable, if it had not been before, that Rabat will not accept any change regarding the independence of the territory. Then, should be introduced some new element that could be semi-binding and that can only come by the hand of realpolitik, imperfect but effective key in this kind of disputes to the search always for possibilism, which would perhaps lead not to ignore the old proposal of the partition, aware that it does not suppose the desideratum but it would be guaranteed to a certain extent by the asepsis, which may be erected here as a vector-guide.
In Ceuta and Melilla, the negotiating paralysis in a high degree -contacts at ministerial levels without the real Alawite audience- can only be overcome through the instance of royal diplomacy. The government, which marks foreign policy, has to ask for the direct intervention of the King, as has been done in the past, from Franco and Don Juan and fundamentally between Juan Carlos I and Hassan II. And as later Mohamed VI has contacted Felipe VI, when the circumstances have required it. Exactly the same as now even though the origin of the call changes.
What I have called the growing hypostasis of the Spanish position and animus is reaching eloquent limits without any Madrid response, either autonomous or with Brussels, appearing to be enough. It should be clear that the twenty solutions that I have been proposing for so many years, is no more -but not less- than an academic exercise, and this connotation is key, looking to the future. Now, when the determining factor -such as the closing of the Melilla customs office, which is legal and congruent with the regional development policy of the southern neighbor- is centered around emigration, what must be done is to put in place an effective, urgent and as broad as possible cooperation, naturally European.
And in Gibraltar, the European interest prevails and, in order that Spain does not hinder the Brexit road, the diplomatic chance is put on hold despite Brussels has conferred on us veto capacity: “Relations with Gibraltar will have to be decided through bilateral negotiations between the Spanish and British governments”.
All that is about the worth of the moment, the ‘when’, so useful in foreign policy. Who knows if the classical triad of the Congress of Vienna, the masters of diplomacy, with Talleyrand, Castlereagh and the great Metternich at the head, would have subscribed the move in the lubricán of the current diplomatic chess, with more than three centuries already of Colonial mortgage, unique in Europe.
P.S. After meeting in the Reform Club, I write to Agustín Núñez, one of our most complete diplomats, new MAEC’s Delegate in Campo de Gibraltar, who knows well my competence for those and other latitudes, with the living memory of its illustrious members Churchill, Gladstone, Russell or Palmerston, that all of them took care of The Rock, so that I could find a space in Santa Cruz-Sotogrande.
02/11/2018. © All rights reserved