Ceuta: Spanish Trade Union Urges Spain to Open New Border Crossing with Morocco

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Photo Credit: El Pueblo Ceuta

Rabat – The largest Spanish trade union, Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) or “Workers Commissions,” has urged Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to boost negotiation with Morocco to open another crossing point in Ceuta to prevent further fatal stampedes.

CCOO has taken a strong stance against the prevalence of the so-called “human mule,” or workers who carry heavy weights of goods from Ceuta to Morocco.

Situation needs ‘radical change’

Quoted by stampedes, the Spanish union has urged for  a “radical change in the way of understanding and addressing the serious problems that have the city plunged into a deep depression.”

CCOO also called for a new round of negotiations between Spain and Morocco to open another border crossing, which is an “urgent and essential” demand. The envisioned border crossing would aim to get the local economy out of the “extremely delicate” situation it is going through, added the news outlet.

The Secretary-General of the union, Juan Luis Arostegui, warned the new delegate of the socialist government, Salvadora Mateos, of the “permanent collapse of the Tarajal border” in Ceuta, in a letter.

In his warning statement, Arostegui said that the situation “not only involves multiple disorders of all kinds and conditions, but is also obstructing the only route of the commercial activity available.”

According to the union, the second crossing point should serve to “separate” the traffic of vehicles dedicated to the transport of goods to Morocco from tourists and visitors.

According to Europa Press, Arostegui also underscored the issue of the unemployment rate in Ceuta.

Unemployment rate contradicts business activities

“It does not make any sense for Ceuta to have the highest unemployment rate in Spain and, at the same time, be a leader in illegal labor, especially in construction, hospitality, commerce, and transport,” added Arostegui.

The CCOO’s statements with regard to the situation of human mules in the Spanish enclaves came less than a week after Morocco moved to open an investigation into the concerning situation.

The House of Representatives of the Moroccan Parliament decided to open an inquiry to find lasting solutions at the Ceuta border crossing, where several Moroccan women die every year in stampedes.

The main purpose of this mission is to focus on the general conditions at the Ceuta border, in particular the situations of “neglected children and women carrying goods,” MP Abdelwadoud Kharbouch told the state-owned news agency, Maghreb Arab Press, last week.

In 2017, Moroccan and Spanish authorities signed an agreement to prevent stampedes. The agreement allows women to cross the border only on Mondays and Wednesdays, while men will be permitted to cross on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The agreement, however, did not stop fatalities from occurring in Ceuta.

In January 2018, two Moroccan women were killed while several others were injured in a stampede at one of the entrance gates of the Ceuta border crossing.