European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said Wednesday that Europe “won’t be intimidated by anyone” after a record number of migrants poured into the Spain’s enclave of Ceuta this week.
In a veiled reference to Rabat, Schinas said on Spanish radio that Europe would “not be a victim of these tactics” after some 8,000 migrants reached Spain’s beaches from Morocco as security forces turned a blind eye.
The crisis comes against the backdrop of soaring tensions with Rabat over Madrid’s decision to provide medical treatment for the leader of the Western Sahara independence movement, who has been seriously ill with COVID-19.
Rabat was infuriated when news leaked that Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali had flown to northern Spain in mid-April for hospital treatment.
The Polisario Front has long fought for the independence of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that is mainly under Moroccan control.
The Moroccan authorities have long wanted Spain to acknowledge their authority over Western Sahara, as Washington did in December under former president Donald Trump.
Analysts said it was clear Morocco had turned a blind eye to the human tide surging into Ceuta this week to put diplomatic pressure on Spain to recognize its sovereignty over Western Sahara.