Spain and Mauritania: the Sahara, fishing, migrations and development at the centre of the bilateral agenda

Publication date:
Miguel Hernando de Larramendi and Ana I. Planet

Documentos CIDOB Mediterráneo, n.º 16

This article analyses the evolution of Spanish-Mauritanian relations from Mauritania's independence in 1960 until 2008. Spain's interest in this country has been motivated by its geographical proximity to the Canary Islands and the fact that it borders the Western Sahara, a region that was colonised by Spain until 1976. After an initial period in which relations were closely monitored by the media owing to the vicissitudes of the process of de-colonising the Western Sahara, the bilateral agenda began to diversify after Spain joined the European Community in 1986. However, Spain's interest in strengthening bilateral relations with Nouakchott was not rooted in economic aspects linked with fishing or trade; above all, what has helped strengthen the priority nature of diplomatic relations with Mauritania has been the fight against illegal immigration, which attempts to reach Europe from the Mauritanian coast by way of the Canary Islands.

ISSN: 1696-9979 (print edition)
ISSN: 1887-1801 (online edition)