Identity Challenges Affecting the Spanish Enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla


  • Jaume Castan Pinos Queens University Belfast



Spania, Ceuta, Melilla, EU, Marokko, grenselitteratur,


This article will examine the border and identity challenges for the Spanish (semi)enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which are surrounded by the Moroccan state. This issue is obviously related to the study of territorial boundaries and more specifically to the EU's relationship with the underdeveloped economic sphere to its south. Indeed, Ceuta and Melilla highlight the double standards of the EU, which was founded to build bridges across borders but at the same time has built barriers (in Ceuta and Melilla actual physical barriers) at its southern border which have underpinned the idea of fortress Europe. Thus, the anomalous geographical location of both Spanish cities exposes them to border and identity challenges as well as to a complex situation of interdependent concentric circles which involves the enclaves (first circle), Spain, Morocco (second circle) and the EU (third circle). The aim of this article is to analyse the three concentric circles, paying special attention to the implications of having African enclaves for an EU state. Finally, the article scrutinises the importance of symbolism and its pivotal role in creating lines of division and political conflict at the local and national level.

Author Biography

Jaume Castan Pinos, Queens University Belfast

Jaume Castan Pinos is a political scientist and a PhD researcher based at the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queens University Belfast (QUB). His areas of interest include international relations, political sociology, state borders and border regions in the EU along with the challenges of the changing EU border(s). He has recently published a working paper entitled ‘Building Fortress Europe? Schengen and the Cases of Ceuta and Melilla' (2009).




How to Cite

Pinos, Jaume Castan. 2009. “Identity Challenges Affecting the Spanish Enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla”. Nordlit, no. 24 (March):65-80.