Mohammed VI will not receive Spanish President Pedro Sanchez during his visit to Rabat this afternoon and tomorrow on the occasion of the twelfth High Level Meeting (RAN), which will bring together a dozen ministers from each of the two governments. The long-awaited, though never officially announced, audience between the King of Morocco and the head of the Spanish government has been replaced by a telephone conversation between the two. According to La Moncloa, “Sánchez has had a telephone conversation with Mohammed VI in which they discussed the summit that will take place this Thursday in the Moroccan capital”, both of which predicted that “it will be a success”. and will contribute to “consolidating the new phase in relations” between the two countries. Furthermore, Sánchez has accepted an invitation from the Alaouite monarch to “make an official visit to Rabat soon”. According to La Moncloa, the call lasted half an hour when the head of government was still in Spain.
On the Moroccan side, the royal cabinet has informed on the call through a statement according to which Mohammed VI “congratulates himself on the solid development of a new phase of bilateral cooperation, trust and mutual respect” with Spain. The “promises made in the joint declaration of 7 April”, when Sánchez traveled to Rabat and met with the Moroccan king, “have been substantially put into practice,” says the royal palace, which declares that “to strengthen this positive dynamic”, in excellent bilateral strategic cooperation”, Mohamed VI invited Sánchez to make an official visit to Morocco “soon”. The Moroccan statement raised expectations of a bilateral summit this Thursday. mitigates this by ensuring that it will take place within the framework of the visit, for which there is still no date, when “bilateral relations will be intensively strengthened through efficiency and concrete concrete actions.” Strategic areas of common interest Projects in ”.
The PP’s deputy general secretary, Esteban González Ponce, has criticized Sánchez for the absence of the Alaoui monarch. “There is no greater humiliation than giving everything to Morocco, with half going to give satisfaction to the government, having your picture taken in the European Parliament, that the king does not receive you and you are ready to take the phone to him Is Sanchez free in front of the Moroccan who allows himself to be so ignored? ”, González Ponce published on Twitter.
Although it was not on the official programme, visits to Morocco by foreign leaders usually end with an audience with the king, who holds a great deal of executive power. At the Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, held last November in Fez (Morocco), the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, José Manuel Albarés, assured that the date of RAN, initially scheduled for the end of 2022, was “overloaded international”. Agenda ”of the President of the Government and Mohammed VI.
Moroccan media close to the palace reported in late December that the king was in Pointe Denis (Gabon), where he has a mansion where he spends the holiday season. Since 23 December, when he received the Moroccan football team that came fourth in the World Cup in Qatar, he has not appeared in any official work. It is not the first time that a Spanish president has spoken by phone with the president of the country he is visiting: it has already happened with José María Aznar when he traveled to Moscow in 1999 and then-President Had a telephone conversation with Boris Yeltsin. ,
The lack of an audience with Mohammed VI isn’t the only thing that marred the trip. The President of the CEOE employers’ association, Antonio Garamendi, stood this Wednesday in front of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, with whom he had planned to attend a Spanish-Moroccan business forum in Rabat on the eve of the first high. level meeting (RAN) is going on between the two countries for eight years. The CEOE has confined itself to alleging “personal reasons” to justify the absence of its president, which became known hours before the opening of the forum. Government and business sources attribute Garamendi’s decision to growing tensions between the owners’ leadership and the executive.
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The sit-in comes just a day after Pedro Sanchez announced in the Senate that the interprofessional minimum wage (SMI) would rise by 8% to 1,080 euros this year. The increase was the result of an agreement that was concluded this Tuesday in separate meetings between the Ministry of Labor and the CC OO and UGT unions and in which the CEOE refused to participate, with cuts in the agricultural sector of 4% An increase was proposed. And a review of public contracts is in progress.
This is not the first point of disagreement between Garamendi and Sanchez. The president of the CEOE, re-elected last November as head of the employers’ union, has criticized a number of measures adopted by the government last year, from a tax on large fortunes to a temporary extraordinary tax. The profits of power companies and banking are going through increases in Social Security’s maximum contribution bases, which he calls “errors” and unilateral measures. He has also categorically rejected criticism of food delivery companies by United We Can, a government member party.
And, in parallel, he admired the new leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijoa. This Tuesday, during a debate in the Senate, Sanchez himself again railed against companies that make great profits and only increase executive bonuses while keeping their employees’ wages stable.
Garamendi’s sit-in at the Rabat Forum has been particularly uncomfortable because the CEOI is one of the organizers, together with its Moroccan counterpart (the CGEM employers’ association), the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish-Moroccan Economic Council and the ministry. Industry, trade and tourism in Spain. In fact, Garamendi was the second speaker to intervene in the inaugural session, after CGEM President Chakib Alj. He will now be replaced by CEOE Vice President Miguel Garrido.
Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, announced upon his arrival in Rabat that he was not surprised that Garamendi did not participate because the previous month, in Fitur, number two The employers had already informed him that its president had a medical appointment for this date and separated his absence from discrepancies with the government, assuring him that it “always treats Spanish businessmen well in all business forums”. ready to represent”. Maroto, however, acknowledged that it was Tuesday afternoon, via an email, when the CEOE reported the absence of Garamendi, whose intervention appears in the official program of the platform distributed yesterday morning.
The industry chief also downplayed the absence of United We Can ministers in Rabat, alleging that 12 Spanish ministers attend the meeting and that the agenda is defined “based on priorities” by the two governments. The person in charge of social rights and leader of Podemos, Ioan Belarra, in an interview with TVE has nevertheless admitted that “the conditions do not exist” after attending the Rabat summit for the ministers of the minority partner of the government “Western Sahara”. PSOE’s unilateral turn with regard to ”.
The business forum will be concluded by Pedro Sanchez and the Prime Minister of Morocco, Aziz Ajnouch, and the Minister of Economy and Finance of Morocco, Nadia Fettah, and the heads of industry of both countries, Riyad Mezrou, and Maroto himself. , According to government data, more than 674 executives from 80 companies established in Morocco and 530 Spanish subsidiaries have registered with the Forum.
Spain has been Morocco’s leading foreign supplier for years (ahead of France) and the North African country is the third customer of Spanish exports outside the EU after the US and UK, with more than 10,000 million euros expected in 2022. Spain’s investment is not on the same level. Adil Rais, co-president of the Spain-Morocco Economic Council, regrets that Spain ranks only fifth in foreign direct investment (FDI) in his country (after France, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom) with 126 million . In the first nine months of 2022. “We want Spain to invest more, especially the Ibex 35 companies,” he told Efe.
Among the twenty agreements to be signed on the occasion of RAN is a line of credit from the government of 800 million to finance investments by Spanish companies over the next five years in areas such as renewable energy, desalination plants, infrastructure and . innovation.
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