Spain and France maintain excellent relations, the Barcelona treaty will place these relations at an optimal level, the personal harmony between Emmanuel Macron y Pedro Sanchez it is good, common interests outweigh differences, France has more trade with Spain than with the People’s Republic of China; Spain, in turn, has more trade with France than with all of America, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego; Dual nationality is authorized, and the French archives on Spanish exile after the Civil War are going to be digitized. But the Pyrenees is the Pyrenees.
There are 39 border crossings between Spain and France along the Pyrenees mountain range and not all of them are open, despite the Schengen treaty. At the moment there are six closed passes, according to official French sources. These six steps will not be opened immediately as a result of the Friendship and Enhanced Cooperation treaty that the governments of Spain and France will sign in Barcelona on January 19.
France is in no hurry and is demanding greater coordination between the police services of both countries on the so-called “secondary movements” within the Schengen area: the movements of those people of non-EU nationality who manage to enter Europe through the most accessible door in search of a second or third country in which to settle. Since the end of the states of alarm due to the epidemic, France has kept six secondary crossings closed, to reduce the porosity of the border with Spain and to be able to concentrate controls on the crossings with the most traffic of people and vehicles. Official objective: prevention of terrorism and greater control of irregular immigration.
France tightened border control after the serious terrorist attack in Nice on July 14, 2016, in which a truck directed at a crowd taking part in a national holiday event on the Promenade des Anglais killed 89 people and injured more than four hundred. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State. Border controls – a device provided for by the Schengen treaty – were reestablished and many secondary crossings were closed on France’s borders with Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. The outbreak of the epidemic, in March 2020, imposed a total closure of borders that was relaxed as the health situation in the respective countries improved. On the Pyrenean border, some twelve secondary passes were closed, of which six remain blocked. Spain wanted to open them with the signing of the Barcelona treaty, and France has said no. There is malaise in the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.
France calls for more police cooperation to open all secondary border crossings
French sources point out that these six steps could be opened gradually in the future, to the extent that cooperation between the police services of both countries on the so-called “secondary movements” increases. France has suggested the creation of mixed police units to reinforce this control, work that does not only refer to surveillance on the ground. The political debate on immigration is much more intense in France than in Spain. In France, it is the main asset of the National Front, the main political opposition force. In Spain, few issues overshadow the heated discussions about national unity.
On the 21st, two days after the Barcelona summit, the Spanish extreme right will hold a demonstration in Madrid to protest against the “concessions” of the current government to the Catalan independentistas. In turn, an as yet undetermined number of Catalan separatists will demonstrate on the 19th in Barcelona in protest against the celebration of the Spanish-French summit in Catalonia. They consider it a “provocation”, aimed at blurring the Catalan national question before European public opinion. One of the promoters of the protest is the former president of the Generalitat Carlos Puigdemont residing in Brussels since November 2017, MEP, pending a European ruling on his immunity, character whose digital identification is KRLS, an acronym used by Emperor Charlemagne in the 9th century.
Discomfort in the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, which wanted to agree on the total opening of the border
The French government has received the call for independence during the Barcelona summit with “indifference”, according to official sources, which refrain from making any other political comment. The proposal to hold the meeting in Barcelona came from the Spanish government a month ago, and the French side accepted the idea without raising any objections. “On the contrary, it seemed good to us, since a summit between Spain and France had never been held in Barcelona,” they point out. On the 19th, French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive at El Prat airport accompanied by ten ministers who will participate in two bilateral meetings with their Spanish counterparts at the Palau Nacional de Montjuïc, headquarters of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). , place finally chosen. Macron plans to receive in Montjuïc a representation of French citizens residing in the city of Barcelona, which exceeds the figure of 25,000.
The decision of the President of the Generalitat, Peter Aragonés , accepting the invitation of the Spanish Government to participate in the meeting, acting as host, will introduce quantum physics in the signing of the Barcelona treaty. Esquerra Republicana will form part of the summit and at the same time will demonstrate against it, seconding the call of the Catalan National Assembly, Òmnium and other entities. That ubiquity will de-dramatize the protest.