OPE Worries

MOT OPE PortThe Junta de Andalucía has expressed its concern over the coming, yearly, ferry operationes between Andalusian ports and North Africa (OPE).

Around 75,000 North Africans, residents in France, Belgium and Italy for example, made their way down across Spain to Motril Port last year to cross over to Africa to spend the summer before beginning the reverse operation in the autumn.

This migratory flux is known as the Operación Paso del Estrecho (OPE).  Motril Port, which is just one of the ports used, is the shortest sea link for Melilla, Nador and Alhucemas.

The Junta, run by a right-wing coalition including the far-right group Vox, is worried that this influx could cause a negative affect on the evolution of the pandemic in Spain. The Andalusian PM himself has stated that he is not in favour of the operation being carried out this year, as “these are not ideal circumstances, given the health crisis.”

Each year some 3,000,000 people cross Spain to reach North Africa, 80% of whom use Algerciras Port. However, last year, as stated above, 75,000 of that number used Motril Port

If the Junta does cancel the OPE, then this will seriously deplete the yearly income of Algerciras, Tarifa and Motril.

The Junta PM has asked the Central Government PM for the highest guarantees concerning health precaution should the OPE go ahead. He also asked for a solution for the immigrant workers in Andalucía who want to return to North Africa now that the picking season is drawing to a close.

Finally, PM Juanma Moreno stated that the OPE is “something special” and is not comparable with the arrival of tourists from abroad.

(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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