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Do Spain and Morocco Get Along as Countries?

Updated on December 24, 2019

How does Morocco feel about Spain?

Being a Moroccan, I’ve always had a special or different perspective of Spaniards. I live in the east of Morocco, so unlike the north of the country, we were not influenced by the Spanish culture/language. etc.

Historically, Spain and Morocco have got so much in common. They’re like Jews and Arabs: common historical relations and some serious issues still present to this day (Ceuta & Melilla / Canary Islands / the Sahara …)

When I hear the name Spain, there are two images in mind. The first image is awful. It is the country that had colonized Morocco. The one which had used chemical weapons against people in the Rif region (North of Morocco). I’ve been as well told that Spaniards usually look down on Moroccans. There are 773,966 Moroccans in Spain (The 2nd minority group after Romanians). They usually call them “Moro malu” (evil Moroccan or Muslim).

Then comes the second image that I have in my mind about Spain as a country (which is far better than the previous). It is a very nice place to spend your Holidays. It represents football nowadays. If you visit Morocco, you’ll be surprised by the number of people who follow the Spanish Liga. Whenever Barcelona/ Real Madrid or even Atletico plays, you won’t find a free seat in a cafe. Some Moroccans even love and support Spain national football team.

How does Spain feel about Morocco?

Basically, Spain is much wealthier than Morocco yet very closes geographically, so this means that there may often be friction, but they also have a shared history and, as Spaniards say, are “condemned to understand each other”.

Many Moroccans migrate to Spain to work, but I should point out that surveys show only a negligible proportion of Spaniards believe immigration is one of the country’s main problems.

About how Spain (or the Spanish people) feels about Moroccans I would say most of the nationals do not look at them very positively, due to high rates of delinquency and some nationals related radical Islamism and terrorism. Luckily most of the people understand that not of them are like that but unfortunately the numbers are there.

Despite a huge number in Spain, Moroccan workers are usually treated badly and racially. Spain always shows hostility and bias when dealing with Moroccan issues like Sahara.

On the other side, poor Moroccans consider Spain a bridge to Europe. A means to escape from poverty and unemployment.

About immigration Morocco has an Ace up in his sleeve with the current situation as thousands of sub-Saharan (people of Senegal, Mauritania or Mali) surviving near the border waiting for an opportunity to entry European territory. Morocco by now controls the situation but in exchange for some benefits and commercial accords.

However, where there is friction over migrants is at the frontier in Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish territories on the Moroccan coast), where horrific scenes of would-be migrants storming the fence take place, as well as charges traded between the two countries over alleged smuggling.

Also there are occasional disputes over fishing rights.

But even with those problems, relations between both governments are kind of cordial, maybe they don´t like each other, but Morocco needs Spain to connect with Europe, and Spain needs Morocco to control immigration issues and specially radical Islamism. The general opinion is that while in Morocco there is no real democracy or human rights, the strong hand of the Alaui regime is recognize like the lesser (and known) evil in addition of a warranty against the expansion of Islamist terrorism.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Sanae Dahmouni


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