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Morocco is today the largest recipient of European Union funds under the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Association Agreement , which entered into force in March 2000, represents the legal basis for relations between the European Union and Morocco. With the launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2003, Morocco gradually became a privileged partner of the European Union both in the field of economic co-operation and trade and in policy dialogue and financial co-operation.
The European Union - Morocco relationship is based on a mutual commitment to promote common values, among which are the respect of the rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights, and promotion of good relations with neighbours, economy market and sustainable development. These ideas are implemented through a mutually agreed Action Plan between Morocco and the European Union. It defines a programme of economic and political reforms with short- and medium-term priorities.
Co-operation programmes 2007-2013
European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument
Since 1 January 2007 the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) sets the framework for co-operation between Morocco and the European Union as well as the Country Strategy Paper that builds upon it.
The Country Strategy Paper defines the strategic axes of co-operation for the period 2007-2013 and is refined through the National Indicative Programmes, covering the periods 2007-2010 and 2011-2013. New ambitions of the advanced status were introduced in the National Indicative Programme for 2011-2013 following a mid-term review after the implementation of the National Indicative Programme for 2007-2010 that confirmed the relevance of the Country Strategy Paper's five strategic axes.
|Strategic axes||2007-2010 (updated)||2011-2013 (indicative)|
|Development of social policies||296||45.3||116.1||20|
|Good governance and human rights||8||1.2||87.07||15|
*These numbers do not include the amounts of different government facilities allocated to Morocco between 2007 and 2010.
The implementation of bilateral co-operation
In the case of Morocco, the main challenge of co-operation is to ensure the management of a large volume of very large operations within a tight schedule, while maintaining high level of quality of the programmes.
Budget support has become the preferred instrument of co-operation between Morocco and European Union.
Between 2009 and 2012, 94% of bilateral commitments were in the form of budget support.
Moreover, the "conventional project approach" remains relevant for several sectors of co-operation and continues to be preferred especially in the areas of governance and human rights. Such projects are also implemented in the areas of rural development, private sector, infrastructure or institutional support.
29 twinning projects were launched between 2005 and 2012 in the following areas: foreign trade, security and maritime safety, environment, migration, consumer protection, fight against money laundering, competition, finance, health, sanitary and phytosanitary control, harmonisation of technical legislation, regional development, road safety, civil aviation, statistics, intellectual property rights, energy, public financial management or metrology.
More about twinning.
Beyond the bilateral geographic instrument as defined in the National Indicative Programme (NIP), Morocco is eligible for additional funds under the thematic programmes adopted for the financial period 2007-2013:
- Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development,
- Investing in People,
- Environment and
Morocco is also eligible for support under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and also benefits from financing under regional co-operation as well as under the Erasmus Mundus External Co-operation Window programme , designed to enhance mobility and co-operation with European Union in the field of higher education, and under the Tempus programme.
The Advanced Status
On the occasion of the European Union - Morocco Association Council held on 23 July 2007, Morocco and the European Union decided to launch a joint reflection process aimed at strengthening their bilateral relationship. On 13 October 2008, Morocco became the first country in the southern Mediterranean region to be granted the advanced status, marking a new phase of privileged relations. A joint report outlining an ambitious road map (available in French) was adopted. The advanced status is reflected in the willingness to strengthen political dialogue, co-operation in the economic, social, parliamentary, judicial and security fields and in different sectors, namely agriculture, transportation, energy and environment. It also aims at the progressive integration of Morocco into common internal market as well as at increasing legislative and regulatory convergence. Financial co-operation plays an essential support role for the success of this status.
In the framework of the advanced status, twinning and Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) will remain a privileged instrument of co-operation.
Co-operation until 2006
From 1963 Morocco requested the opening of negotiations and concluded a Trade Agreement in 1969. This co-operation further evolved and led to a new Agreement in 1976 which included trade arrangements and financial participation in the form of donations to the socio-economic development of the Kingdom.
To accompany this Agreement, four financial protocols (available only in French) were signed during the period 1976-1996, accompanied by European Investment Bank loans (available only in French). During the period following the financial protocols, MEDA I programme (1996-99), the main operational and financial instrument of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, tripled aid to Morocco compared to the financial protocols. It supported the economic transition and socio-economic balance in Morocco.
MEDA II programme significantly increased financial contribution allocated to Morocco. The activities in the framework of MEDA II focused primarily on the implementation of the Association Agreement and aimed at boosting jobs and growth and at reducing poverty.
Over the entire period 1995-2006, Morocco received more than €1.6 billion, making it the greatest recipient of the European Union's assistance among all Mediterranean partners.
For European Neighbourhood Policy and EU policy towards Morocco see the European External Action Service website.
More information on EU relations with Morocco is available on the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Morocco (available in French). For trade relations see the Trade Directorate-General website.