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News Leaders agree on need for Morocco to reach optimum proximity to the EU

The EU-Morocco summit held in the Spanish city of Granada on Sunday has concluded with a positive assessment of the development of relations and a commitment to build on their political, economic and social aspect, as well as to begin a process of reflection on their future ‘contractual' form.

 At the press conference following the summit, the Spanish Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapaterro, the permanent President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, and the Moroccan Prime Minister, Abbas El Fassi, all underlined the momentous importance of this first summit between the EU and an Arab country. They reiterated the need, echoing the final statement, for "Morocco to reach optimum proximity to the EU, to build on the momentum of its political modernisation, of the opening up of its economy, and of its social cohesion", and for both sides to get involved in a coordinated way, more and more often, with matters of global interest. They also emphasised the value of this relationship as an example for the Mediterranean region. The final statement set out a roadmap for future cooperation, with both sides committing particular attention to: 
  • Creation of an EU-Morocco Joint Parliamentary Committee. Both sides welcome the imminent establishment of the committee, underlining the important role it is destined to play.
  • Participation of Morocco in EU programmes. Both sides welcome their agreement on a framework for Morocco's participation in EU programmes.
  • Technical and financial cooperation. Both sides underline that the implementation of areas of cooperation agreed under the Advanced Status requires the financial support to match. In this context, substantial extra funds are being made available to Morocco under the ENPI for the period 2011-2013.
  • Commercial agreements. Both sides promise to step up negotiations on easing restrictions on trade in services and right of establishment.
  • Green and renewable energies. Both sides welcome Morocco's new energy strategy, and its recent national solar plan aiming to meet 42% of the country's energy needs.
  • Integration of trans-European networks. Both sides commit to maintain their cooperation to improve connections with trans-European transport and energy networks.
  • New instrument to take over from the EU-Morocco Action Plan. With the current action plan coming to an end in 2010, the new document will give an operational content to the aims of the Advanced Status.
 Among the political matters dealt with, the Middle East question, the Union for the Mediterranean, the situation in the Sahel, immigration and the Sahara stood out. "We have talked about almost everything," the Moroccan Prime Minister said. Answering questions about the Western Sahara, Zapatero reiterated his support "for the work and mission of the UN" and stated that "a frank, positive and constructive" dialogue has always been kept up with Morocco on this matter. On immigration, the leaders stated that cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination should be strengthened, and a global approach should be taken to the problem, also dealing with the causes of migratory flows. In an earlier message sent to the Summit, King Mohammed VI of Morocco expressed satisfaction at the Advanced Status agreed with the EU, but said it was necessary to move towards "an exceptional association of legal, institutional and contractual scope". The King said it was auspicious that the summit was being held in Granada, a city he described as a "living testimony to fruitful historical, cultural and human interaction on both shores of the Mediterranean". The Summit was preceded by an EU-Morocco forum of local authorities (2-3 March) and an EU-Morocco business summit (6 March).    

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News type Inbrief
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Source of information ENPI Info Centre
Geographical coverage Morocco, EU, Spain
News date 08/03/2010
Working language(s) ENGLISH