On November 19, 2018, Pedro Sanchez publicly proposed to Morocco participate in a project together with Spain for organize the World Cup. The idea was declining while diplomatic tensions between the two countries were increasing. The Spanish federation joined the Portuguese and, with the support of their respective governments and also UEFA, they focused on shaping an Iberian candidacy, which was officially presented in October 2020. Now, the King of Morocco , Mohamed VI, has announced that Morocco is joining the candidacy of Spain and Portugal for the 2030 World Cup, a project in which the continuity of Ukraine is in doubt. The federations of the three countries finalize an agreement that has the blessing of their respective governments. A significant detail, in the Spanish case, given the diplomatic tensions that both countries have maintained in recent times.
This joint candidacy would have been unthinkable in 2021. So, Spain and Morocco had essentially suspended bilateral relations. The Government of Rabat went into a rage after Spain decided to give medical assistance in Logroño to the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali, at war with Morocco. He was sick with Covid.
The Ceuta crisis
Shortly after, nearly 8,000 people, many of them minors, entered Spain illegally through the Ceuta border. It was the largest irregular entry of people into Spain. The Moroccan authorities allowed it.
The tension with the North African neighbor began to calm down just over a year ago. Pedro Sánchez sent a letter to the King of Morocco, Mohamed VI, to express Spain’s support for his plan to incorporate Western Sahara into the Kingdom of Morocco in an autonomous regime. A turn of more than half a century of Spanish neutrality towards the Saharawi conflict
Sánchez wrote that this is the “most realistic, serious and credible” plan to resolve the conflict.. The Alaouite kingdom, satisfied, ordered the ambassador to return to her post in Madrid and began talks to resolve all the disputes between the two countries: the territorial waters between Morocco and the Canary Islands, the control of migratory flows or the reopening of the borders of Ceuta and Melilla for people and merchandise, something that has not yet been achieved.
The high point of this new diplomatic rapprochement occurred on February 1 and 2, at the highly anticipated summit between the governments of Spain and Morocco. A dozen ministers from both countries met in Rabat and hours of meetings to carry out pending bilateral issues. The appointment was tarnished, however, by the sit-in that the King of Morocco gave to the Spanish president. Sánchez appeared before the press in front of a huge photo of Mohamed VI, but he remained in his vacation residence in Gabon.
All parliamentary groups, except the PSOE, have requested explanations from the Government for the reasons for Sánchez’s surprise turn. They ask to know why this radical change has been made without informing Congress, and what exactly Spain has gotten in return. The issue of the Sahara is very politically sensitive: it is not in vain that it is a former Spanish province, which was occupied by Morocco with the so-called “green march” in 1975. The good harmony now expands to the field of football with the candidacy for the 2030 World Cup.