EU and Morocco appeared determined to provide “new impetus to their strategic, multidimensional, and privileged relationship” at last Thursday’s Association Council in Brussels.
After the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini chaired the 14th Association Council along with Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, the two sides published a joint declaration after many years, evincing “their mutual expectations and the challenges of today’s world, by developing a true Euro-Moroccan partnership for shared prosperity.”
“The EU-Morocco partnership is more necessary than ever to respond to such challenges,” writes the joint declaration, placing additional emphasis on the deepening of bilateral relations, on the basis of common ambitions and common interests, along with the strengthening of both regional and Euro-African cooperation as well as supporting effective multilateralism.
The joint declaration reiterated that the two parties “commit themselves to protecting the partnership which unites them, strengthening its resilience and stability and ensuring its continuity in case of difficulties, particularly through early consultation, strengthened coordination and use of the working structures established under the partnership,” reaffirming that both sides will work to “define a new framework for relations, one that is comprehensive and resilient. “
According to Mogherini, Morocco -the longest-associated country with the EU- is “a key partner” for the bloc. “Our relationship is strong and we will continue to pursue our objectives,” added the High Representative, appearing pleased that the country has made progress on the common agenda, by ratifying its bilateral agreements with the bloc in several sectors, including fisheries.
We have set the milestone of long-term objectives,” she added, reiterating that the two partners’ plans for the future are both “strong and very ambitious”. According to Mogherini, mobility of persons and migration were in that group of challenges, but both sides are “convinced we can transform then on balanced cooperation”.
The European Union and the Northern African country “want to work together to tackle climate change and other issues,” the statement continued. The High Representative mentioned the substantial economic reforms in Morocco as well as a new agenda for growth as the cornerstone of the strengthened partnership. “I see our partnership in many different areas,” she added, mentioning discussions on Libya and the situation in the Middle East, where the two sides “clearly share perspectives and analyses”.
Minister Bourita endorsed Mogherini’s expression of support to Tunisia after the latest incidents and her hope that the area will return to stability. In terms of the Morocco-EU relationship, the minister said that the country envisions “an ambitious equal, partnership, we want to make sure this remains a pioneering partnership with the EU”.
As four years had gone by without an Association Council, “this period was a trial in our partnership, we were able to show our partnership was resilient,” added Bourita. “For the first time in 15 years we had a joint declaration and not one per side,” emphasised the minister reiterating that both sides “have renewed cooperation in many fields.”
“In addition, we decided to structure partnership in four clusters in addition to mobility, migration and stable development that are horizontal cross-cutting elements,” added Bourita, pointing to the need to identify specific measures. “Today we have the first fruits, thanks to the new structured cooperation,” he added. “We want to do more, better, we want a strategic approach in Europe, Africa in the Middle East,” he said, adding that Morocco is determined and determined to work with the EU on all relevant subjects “as a reliable partner.”