Marhaba 2022: Morocco launches its major operation to return its diaspora for the summer

The first ships arrived on Sunday June 5 in Tangier. Morocco is relaunching its major annual operation to return its large diaspora for the summer via European ports, mainly Spanish, interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and then a serious diplomatic crisis with Madrid. “Operation Marhaba (“Welcome”) to welcome Moroccans residing abroad starts on June 5″, says a press release from the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, which oversees this important seasonal migratory movement. It will be implemented in the Spanish ports of Motril, Almeria and Algeciras, Sète and Marseille (southern France) and Genoa, Italy.


The Marhaba operation will mobilize nearly 1,000 agents (doctors, social workers, volunteers) to assist expatriates in ports, airports and rest areas in Morocco. Separated from Morocco by the 14 kilometers of the Strait of Gibraltar, neighboring Spain, the first concerned, has programmed its reception and transit operation for Moroccans Abroad June 15. It will run until September 15. In 2019, Operation Marhaba allowed more than 3.3 million passengers and more than 760,000 Moroccan vehicles to cross the Strait of Gibraltar in summer via Spanish ports. It is “one of the largest flows of people between continents in such a short time”, according to the Spanish government. It also feeds Morocco’s economy.


This traffic is not one-way. Moroccan tourists flock to the Costa del Sol every summer and the Costa Brava in winter. This Hispano-Moroccan cooperation had been suspended by the health crisis in 2020 and then the virtual rupture of diplomatic relations with Spain due to disagreements over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. The two countries reconciled recently after Madrid backed Rabat’s proposed autonomy plan to settle the Western Sahara dispute. Since April, cross-border cooperation between the two neighbors has resumed, particularly in the area of ​​migration.

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