Spain and Morocco are finalizing preparations to facilitate the transit of Moroccan citizens living abroad during the summer period.
A meeting of the Spanish-Moroccan Joint Committee for the preparation of Operation Crossing the Strait (OPE) 2022 was held Thursday in Rabat.
The meeting in Rabat served to finalize the details of the Special Civil Protection Plan for OPE 2022, which will be finished in upcoming weeks, and which will include all the necessary aspects to develop the plan, with special attention this year to the health controls derived from the impact of COVID-19.
As part of the preparations, Spain will set up a security force for this edition with 15,995 National Police and Guardia Civil officers.
“Operation Crossing the Strait is an example of good coordination between neighboring countries,” said Spain’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Isabel Goicoechea, during her speech. The last meeting of the Joint Committee was held in Madrid on May 21, 2019.
Thursday’s meeting is part of the process of implementing the roadmap drawn up at the meeting held last April between the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the King of Morocco, Mohamed VI.
The measures being taken between Spain and Morocco are based on a number of factors, including the fluidity and security of transit, assistance to travellers and the prevention and protection of public health.
Plans to be implemented to guarantee an adequate supply for the daily traffic of passengers and vehicles were also discussed. The reinforcements of troops to be mobilized in the ports to guarantee transit, both from Europe to Africa and vice versa, were also on the agenda.
Finally, both countries agreed to reinforce and coordinate information exchange channels to continue working on aspects such as the management of peak travel days, the possibility of exchanging tickets and other conditions for maritime crossings.
According to Goicoechea, the logistical and security challenge posed by the OPE, with the movement by sea of more than three million people and more than seven hundred thousand vehicles over a period of three months. “It is the largest mechanism of its kind in Europe and one of the most important in the world,” she explained.
The undersecretary also referred to the bilateral cooperation that has made it possible to successfully carry out Operation Crossing the Strait since 1986. “Beyond the data, OPE is an example of good coordination between neighbouring countries, whose excellent results in recent campaigns are the result of the great preparatory work of our technical teams,” she stressed.