Morocco: Š. Füle in Rabat on reforms and bilateral cooperation
The progress of the reform process as well as a range of bilateral issues will be on the agenda of the visit of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, to Morocco on 18 and 19 January. It is the first high-level visit of an EU official to the country after the November elections and following the appointment of the new Government headed by Abdelilah Benkirane. “Morocco is a key partner of the European Union in the Mediterranean. It is undertaking substantial political and economic reforms that we see very positively," Commissioner Füle said before leaving Brussels. "The relations between Morocco and the EU are an example of how reforms that are decided and implemented by the local authorities can be accompanied by EU solidarity. The path towards the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, which also promotes sustainable and inclusive development, deserves full EU support," he added.
For this the European Commission has already proposed to mobilise important EU instruments like trade facilitation, a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA), increased financial support and to launch a partnership on mobility of people.
During his visit, the Commissioner will meet several members of the Government, representatives of the Parliament and civil society. He will also sign two financing agreements in the framework of the Neighbourhood Investment Facility. The first one relates to the Ouarzazate Solar Power Plant for a total of € 30 million of EU funding and the second one relates to the Drinking Water Efficiency Programme for a total of € 7 million of EU funding.
This is Commissioner Füle's second visit to Morocco. In his talks with the partners there, he will focus on important dossiers of EU-Morocco relations, such as the agreement of the liberalization of trade in agricultural products that is pending at the European Parliament, the preparations of a new Action Plan of the “advanced status”, the preparation of negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area, the negotiations on liberalisation of trade in services, and the dialogue on a mobility partnership. Progress on these issues will give substance to the "advanced status" that Morocco achieved in 2008. The visit will also be an occasion to discuss the developments in the region following last year's events in the context of the "Arab Spring".