Less than 50 passengers landed in Tangier on the first ferry from Spain.

The ship has space for more than 700 people.

Ferries to Morocco have been running again since Tuesday.

Passenger traffic across the Strait of Gibraltar had been suspended for more than two years.

Now Morocco has opened its borders again: After the outbreak of the pandemic, the North African country had repeatedly sealed itself off from the outside world since March 2020. At the end of 2020, the diplomatic crisis with Spain began, which only ended last week.

The ferries are the symbol for the return to good neighborly everyday life.

Air traffic between the two countries was also suspended for months.

The car ferries will also be in operation from Monday.

Connections to France and Italy were also resumed.

Hans Christian Roessler

Political correspondent for the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb based in Madrid.

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For many Moroccans, the short passage by ship is a kind of lifeline.

Up to 19,000 Moroccan women come to southern Spain every year to harvest strawberries alone.

Almost 800,000 Moroccans live in Spain itself, many of whom take the car ferries home.

In June, the "Operación Paso del Estrecho" is to start again for the first time after 2019.

The "crossing of the straits" means a small migration of peoples to Morocco.

3.5 million Moroccans living in Western Europe then cross over in 800,000 vehicles to spend their extended summer vacation at home.

Experts estimate the losses caused by the standstill on the Strait of Gibraltar at up to 200 million euros.

Spain relies on simpler deportations

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez went to great lengths to end the Moroccan blockade.

In a letter to the Moroccan king, Sánchez had completed a U-turn in the Western Sahara conflict.

With his praise for the Moroccan autonomy plan, he gave up Spanish neutrality in the Western Sahara conflict and indirectly recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the former Spanish colony.

The Polisario Front, which is fighting for an independent Western Sahara, then severed its ties with the Spanish government, and its protecting power, Algeria, increased the pressure on Madrid.

After his reconciliation meeting with Mohammed VI.

Sánchez was criticized in Spain for not bringing any binding commitments with him from Rabat, but Morocco is moving.

It is important to the Spanish government that the joint fight against illegal migration starts again.

The border opening makes it possible to bring more migrants back to Morocco faster.

Spain hopes that these deportations will have a deterrent effect.

The new flights from Gran Canaria to El Aaiún, Casablanca and Agadir should contribute to this.

By the end of March, the number of migrants arriving in the Canary Islands from Morocco had increased by about 70 percent;

most of the approximately 5,900 arrivals so far were Moroccans.

More than 1,100 migrants climbed the border fences in Melilla and Ceuta.

As Spain approached Morocco in the second half of March,