The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, celebrated this Tuesday that Morocco is a “fraternal partner” for Spain after reopening the land borders of Ceuta and Melilla, although he has avoided “speculating” on the doubts that point to the Alawite country as responsible for espionage with the Pegasus program or that relate the current situation with the turn on Western Sahara.

“Relations with Morocco are absolutely important, relevant, strategic”, defended Grande-Marlaska in an interview on the Antena 3 program Espejo Público, collected by Europa Press, in which he added that the friendship between the two countries has to do with the verification that they are “unfailingly and necessarily fraternal partners”.

The Minister of the Interior has defended that the border crossings have the necessary police means after gradually reopening human trafficking two years after a closure that coincided with the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Initially, only EU citizens or those with valid documentation to move through the Schengen area can access Spain, and as of May 31, cross-border workers can also access Spain.

Grande-Marlaska was cautious when asked about the total opening of the borders, pointing out that as of May 31, what the Spanish-Moroccan working group expects is “to have also made progress in the rest of the personnel and merchandise material “. The Government insists that Melilla will recover its customs and that another will be installed in Ceuta to combat smuggling.

The head of the Interior has avoided linking the reopening of the borders with the support of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, to the Moroccan plan on the Sahara that began the new stage between the two countries, leaving behind the crisis due to the entry of some 10,000 migrants in Ceuta just a year ago.

“There was a typical disagreement between sister countries,” said Grande-Marlaska in reference to the massive influx of migrants in Ceuta in the face of the passivity of the Moroccan police, something that is no longer happening now, according to the minister, who has indicated that collaboration is full to stop the departure of small boats and combat human trafficking within the “new relationship for the 21st century”.

As he did last week in an act for the 178th anniversary of the founding of the Civil Guard, Grande-Marlaska has described espionage with the Pegasus program and the theft of more than 6 gigabytes of which the victim was a “serious incident”. Minister of the Interior himself. However, he has asked for “peace of mind”: “Mobile phones and devices of any computer nature are perfectly monitored and controlled; there is no problem that could affect the security of the State.”

Grande-Marlaska has once again denied that the Police and the Civil Guard have the Israeli Pegasus program, pointing out that the State Security Forces and Bodies work with Sitel, which requires a “judicial key” as prior authorization for the intervention of communications in investigations protected by the courts.

It has also refuted the criticism of police unions for the haste and lack of resources in the reopening of the border by contrasting the loss of 10% of the workforce in Ceuta and Melilla in the years of the government of Mariano Rajoy with the recovery of troops in the same proportion.

In addition, he mentioned the drop in the crime rate and the investment of 50 million in works on the border perimeter and another 6 million for the development of the so-called “intelligent border”, as well as Pedro Sánchez’s visits to Ceuta and Melilla and specific plans for both North African cities.