Madrid and Algiers at an impasse? This is the case for trade between the two neighboring countries, frozen since the suspension by Algeria of the friendship treaty which linked it to the Iberian kingdom, after the support of the Spanish government for the Moroccan autonomy plan to resolve the conflict in the Sahara.
According to the Spanish press agency EFE, which cites sources “knowledgeable”the leaders of the El Mouradia palace are still waiting for “clarifications” of the government of Pedro Sanchez on its new position on the subject of the Sahara.
“There are no authorizations for goods from Spain”recognizes an Algerian customs source at the microphone of EFE, while the banking employers had said lift restrictions on banking in July. For the Algerian government, trade relations are a “exclusive state prerogative”.
Sahara, apple of discord
Last week, during a press conference held in Berlin in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the President of the Spanish government Pedro Sanchez expressed his desire to go to Algiers. This desire does not seem to have moved the Algerian authorities either, who have since remained silent.
“I personally believe that Spain must first correct their ramblings before a visit at this level is possible”a diplomatic source told EFE, referring to Spain’s support for Morocco’s position on the Sahara issue, a bone of contention between Rabat and Algiers.
The diplomatic and commercial crisis between the two Mediterranean countries coincides with the energy crisis in Europe, at a time when Algeria, the third gas supplier of the Old Continent, appears as the alternative to dependence on Russian fuel.
In recent months, Algeria has agreed to increase its gas exports to Italy, reconciled with France and last Monday received the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who described it as a partner “reliable” in the energy field, but always keeps its distance from Spain.
Until the beginning of the year, Algeria was the main gas supplier of the Iberian kingdom, considered a preferential partner, but today the Algerian hydrocarbon company is revising prices in updates to current contracts , because, according to her, they are “well below current market level”which will have foreseeable repercussions on Spain.