Tunnel planned to link Europe and Africa
Wednesday 07 February 1996
Rabat - Morocco and Spain agreed to go ahead by the end of the century with a century-old dream of linking Europe and Africa by building a tunnel under the Gibraltar Strait.
"We hope to start geological and scientific work [for the tunnel] by 1997 but it might take longer than that ... it is a problem of financing," the Moroccan Finance Minister, Mohamed Kabbaj, said.
A joint communique issued at the end of a two-day visit by the Spanish Prime Minister, Felipe Gonzalez, said the tunnel was of enormous political and economic value to both countries, which have bilateral trade exceeding $1bn (pounds 650m).
"Conscious of the political and economic importance of a fixed link between Europe and Africa beneath the Straits of Gibraltar, which would consolidate regional cooperation, the two parties congratulate themselves on taking the project beyond the study phase," the communique said.
Analysts have estimated the proposed 14-mile tunnel at the mouth of Mediterranean, one of the greatest engineering challenges in the world, would cost more than $10bn.They say the project would be as significant in geopolitical terms as the building of the Suez Canal.
Diplomats say the tunnel idea was given new impetus after last November's Euro-Mediterranean conference in Barcelona, which sought to embrace countries south of the Mediterranean into a free trade pact with the European Union. Mr Kabbaj said that once funding was raised, the first phase could begin as early as 1997 - although he doubted this was feasible.
This involved construction of a service gallery at a cost of 315 million ecus ($253m), to be followed by a single-rail undersea tunnel down to a depth of 3,000 feet. Mr Kabbaj said Morocco and Spain would seek aid from the EU and other Western donors to fund the project, which would significantly boost Morocco's access to its main export market.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...