Morocco-Spain Relaunch Gibraltar Strait Tunnel Project – what you should know

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Spain and Morocco are taking new steps to construct the 40-kilometer tunnel that will link the two countries under the Strait of Gibraltar, Spanish outlet La Razon reported.

The publication quoted Spain’s Minister of Transport Raquel Sanchez as saying that the two countries will give momentum to the studies of the project, which has been in the works since 1979.

Sanchez added that the project is a “strategic” one, not only for Spain and Morocco, but also for Europe and Africa.

The project was reportedly revived during a meeting between Sanchez and his Moroccan counterpart Nizar Baraka. The pair met during the recent high-level meeting between the two countries and reactivated the studies for the project.

Plans for the tunnel date back to 1979 with the signing of the Spanish-Moroccan joint declaration.

Despite ample financing from institutions such as the World Bank, European Investment Bank, and African Development Fund, the project kept getting shelved due to various diplomatic troubles between the two countries.

However, in light of the recently improved diplomatic relations, the project seems to have been revitalised.

Morocco’s Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch mentioned the project provides opportunities to “build the future” which he hopes “will bring about a real revolution at several levels” between the two countries, La Razon reported.

It can additionally improve ties between Europe and Africa, as Morocco has been acting as a gateway for European countries and investors into the rest of the continent.

However, the depth of the Strait of Gibraltar, as well as its wind and wave patterns are expected to pose difficulties in the construction of the tunnel, although it remains to be seen what type of effect it could have on the cost and the project’s anticipated start date.

As of October 2022, construction for the project was expected to begin in 2030.

Regardless, the tunnel remains “feasible” according to studies and experts, and with improved ties between the two countries and the potential for more trade, it could be one of the biggest projects in their future.

La Razon also added that the UK, which controls Gibraltar, wants a tunnel linking the city to Morocco, in light of their increased cooperation with the North African country.

Morocco for its part would hope to attract more British tourists and investors through the project, as well as find a new way to market its products, particularly agricultural ones, to the British market.

Credit: Mark-Anthony Johnson