In recent days, everyone, locally and internationally, has been able to realize how seriously diplomatic relations between Morocco and Spain have deteriorated. The reasons for this deterioration are above all political in nature. This is an area that is not the traditional focus of this blog. This being the case, the affirmation of our Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans living abroad, Mr. Nasser Bourita, that “Spain must understand that today’s Morocco is not comparable to the Morocco of yesterday ”perhaps calls for another, namely that the Spain of today is no longer the Spain of yesterday.
But, while the Kingdom of Morocco has become fully aware of its enormous potential and its particularly privileged geostrategic position, Spain, which was independent in its decisions and Master of its destiny, is in the process of taking the measure of this which it risks losing by clinging with all its might to an adrift EU led by a “German locomotive” which is running out of steam every day “in full view of all“. In this sense, while the other EU countries have shown, by their silence, their disapproval of the Spanish initiative to receive on its territory a sinister torturer (Brahim Ghali), under a false name (Mohamed Ben Battouche) and which, in addition, is claimed by their own judicial system, Germany, the first to seek the crisis with Morocco, was the only one, according to the Spanish media, to show solidarity with the Iberian country in this action of a terrorist nature.
We have to go back a little to understand the origin of this reciprocal infatuation that the Germans and the Spaniards have for each other and the solidarity that results from it even in the face of acts that border on Mafia methods.
For us Moroccans from the north of the country (occupied by Spain for a few decades), our school authorities used, after the withdrawal of Spain, to systematically impose Spanish as our second foreign language after the French. This was the case when I joined the Lycée Moulay Youssef in Rabat as an internal student in 1967. The following year, we were a few dozen deserving Hispanic students, from all over Morocco, to benefit from a trip offered by the Spanish Embassy in Rabat. We had then visited, in ten days, the cities and regions of Seville, Cordoba and Granada.
My account of that trip having been awarded, I repeated the school excursion the following year, this time to Madrid and region. We were staying in a convent in Carabanchel.
With a few comrades from northern Morocco, we saw no difference between the way of life of the Spaniards, Andalusia in particular, and that of our region of Ouazzane and Chefchaouen. Outside the cities, many Spanish peasants still traveled on donkeys or mules, and their somewhat frugal Mediterranean diet greatly resembled ours. In Granada, many gypsies still lived like troglodytes.
At the time, travel from Morocco to Spain was accessible to everyone, which exerted great migratory pressure on the southern border of France and, consequently, on the Franco-German border.
It should be remembered at this level that we were not very far from the end of the Second Great War, during which a large number of Europeans suffered from hunger and malnutrition. This bad memory had prompted European officials at that time to initiate prospective studies in the sixties to develop policies that would prevent the populations of European countries from reliving new periods of hunger and undernourishment. The studies in question showed a large divergence between the demographic progression curves and those of growth of food resources to cope with the new mouths to feed. This type of divergence seemed much more marked in our African countries. As a result, it became easy to deduce that it was only a matter of time before famine emigration from Africa, a legacy of European colonialism, would invade the European continent. Given the evidence at that time, Spain appeared to be the weak link in the European ambition, of German origin, to arm itself against African economic emigration. Germany, which seems never to have digested its debasing defeat of the 1940s to the allies led by the United States, and which had, very probably, sworn to itself to take its revenge on the economic level, would have seen there was an opportunity to materialize his dream of a triumphant return to the plan in question. It then, supposedly, used all its influence and prerogatives as a donor to other EU countries (see here) to integrate Spain to the EU. At first, Spain was offered, in short, a jump seat.
In this respect, Spain’s exports to the rest of the EU, food in particular, were systematically checked for lack of confidence in the work of the Iberian country.
But, as the Spaniards became familiar with EU cogs, they developed more ingenuity and intrigue. These skills enabled them to bring the EU project, known since under the designation of “Dijon blackcurrant principle” to a successful conclusion. This agreement established, in the absence of Community harmonization, the principle of “mutual recognition by the Member States of the European Union of their respective regulations“. Spain could then export its products with less hindrance to other EU countries.
By defending Spain’s entry into the EU, and then consolidating the Iberian position within the EU market, Germany has done a double blow. It made it possible to considerably slow down the previous African emigration through Spain and, at the same time, contributed to transform the Iberian country into a vast project of investments by Germany and others in all fields, highways, real estate , automobile construction, hotel industry, chemistry / parachemistry and so on. Best of all, the markets of South American countries, linguistically close to Spain, have also become much more accessible to German operators through their Spanish branches.
Incidentally, having, as a legal expert, handled in one capacity or another many cases between Moroccan and Iberian operators, the Catalan region sometimes gave me the impression of a large center of subcontractors for German firms.
In summary, German investments, which drained more investments from other EU countries, totally transformed the Kingdom of Spain, which from the mid-seventies, with great speed, went from a country with Third World characteristics to a modern country that aspires to overtake France. At the same time, having “imported” an economy largely subsidiary to the German economy, the level of activity of the Spanish economy has become heavily dependent on the health of the German economy. Using a metaphor, you could say that ” if Germany coughs, Spain catches a cold“. And that, in our opinion, undermines the independence of the judgment of Spain that we knew from before.
This kind of intimate business relationship, initially desired by the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) for the benefit of its companies, brought the two countries together, which have since been rendering each other a mutual service as we have just seen in the conflict which actually opposes Morocco on one side, Germany and Spain on the other.
The point is that the products that come to us from Germany and Spain can be found everywhere else and at cheaper prices. Then, contrary to what Europe suggests, many among the countries of the EU are far from being self-sufficient in terms of food, something that matters most in these troubled times as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown brilliantly.
As far as we are concerned, Morocco has one of the highest agrifood potential in the world. Suffice to say that these countries, Germany, Spain and others need us, as Moroccans and Africans, much more than we need their services.
But we live in a globalized world and therefore have to sell what we produce in order to live. So, in the face of foreseeable EU trade restriction measures, and while waiting for the effective launch of the Acfta (African Continental Free Trade Area) to boost our trade with our African brother countries and friends, there is always, for operators who may be interested, the US market which is buyer of everything we can produce and sell, and at prices much more attractive than those offered by EU countries.