Spain mulls including Ceuta, Melilla fully in Schengen area

Spanish government’s announcement is likely to cause uproar among Moroccans from the towns surrounding the enclaves.

MADRID - Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Tuesday her government is considering including Ceuta and Melilla, Spain's enclaves in North Africa, fully in Europe's passport-free Schengen area.

For years, Moroccans from the towns surrounding the enclaves could enter without a visa, but required one to travel to continental Spain or the rest of Europe's border-free Schengen Area by sea or air. 

The move would affect hundreds Moroccans who cross the borders to either work in the enclaves or smuggle goods to Morocco.

It comes amid a row between Spain and Morocco over issues linked to The North African country’s sovereignty over its Sahara.

Gonzalez Laya declined to comment on the row, saying her ministry is working "under discretion."

The row blew up in April after Spain admitted Algerian-backed Polisario Front leader, Brahim Ghali, for medical treatment with a false identity and without informing Rabat.