First confirmed case of smallpox in Morocco

First confirmed case of smallpox in Morocco

Spain on Tuesday reopened Moroccan workers on the borders of its enclaves in Ceuta and Melilla, northern Morocco, after two years of closure and diplomatic reconciliation between the two neighbors, an AFP reporter said.

However, access to both territories will be limited to priority for Moroccans “in a regular situation”about 230 people, the vast majority of domestic workers, according to Spanish local authorities.

However, between 35 and 40 Moroccan workers who are not yet in good standing will be able to cross the Ceuta border every day from Wednesday to apply for a visa from the Spanish administration.

“The goal is a gradual and orderly reopening and, most importantly, an end to the underground economy.”a spokesman for Ceuta prefecture told AFP.

Dozens of women gathered in the early hours of Tuesday morning near the Moroccan border crossing at Fnideq to protest Madrid’s decision.

They waved their work permits chanting “No visa”according to AFP journalists.

In March 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of the European Union’s only land borders on the African continent, nearly 4,400 Moroccan cross-border workers had access to the enclaves, according to Spanish official figures.

The cross-border workers’ union, for its part, mentions twice as many Moroccans as deprived of income since the health crisis.

Many cross-border visas have seen their visas expire after the borders were closed, and they now have to apply for new ones at Spanish consulates in Morocco.

Their union described the obligation as “unfair“and denounced the “silence of the Moroccan government”.

Moroccan workers are demanding that the governments of Rabat and Madrid be allowed to enter Ceuta and Melilla in order to “looking for a job” or “regularize their situation with their employers”according to testimonies gathered at Fnideq.

The borders of Ceuta and Melilla were reopened on May 17 only to holders of passports and visas from Schengen countries.


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