Recruitment ban and Europe's closed door policy
As early as the beginning of the 1970s, intensified by the oil crisis in 1973, there was a recruitment stop of Moroccan workers in European countries. This marked the beginning of a general increase in restrictions on the freedom of travel for people from the region. Previously relatively free migration movements were thus made illegal. People who disregarded the restrictions were criminalised.
In parallel, trade relations and the movement of goods from Europe to African countries were intensified. Today, the economic network between Africa and Europe is closer than ever before.
Within the framework of EU border policy, measures have increasingly been taken to control and prevent migration to Europe. This includes the construction of the border fence between Melilla and Nador in 1998. This resulted not only in the separation of a border region that had grown closely together in the course of history, but also in an ever greater separation of Europe and Africa in people’s perception.
"We have a lot of family in Melilla. But now you can't enter like before. The other day a cousin died and we wanted to go there, but without a visa they wouldn't let us enter. Now the family is divided in two. They have made a life there and we have made a life here. It is very difficult to cross the border. And the rules always change depending on the border guard."