Signature of EU-Morocco PRIMA International Agreement
Today, the European Union and Morocco signed the international agreement on Morocco's participation in the 'Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area' (PRIMA).
The agreement was signed in Brussels by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and by Ambassador Dimiter Tzantchev, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the EU, on behalf of the EU, and by Mr. Saaïd Amzazi, Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, on behalf of Morocco.
Morocco has been involved in PRIMA since the inception of this initiative, committing to provide €20 million cash and €20 million in-kind for a 10 year period.
PRIMA is supported by Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation framework programme on the basis of Decision (EU) 2017/1324. It is the first public-public partnership under Horizon 2020 enabling participation of non-EU countries that are not associated to the EU research framework programme on an equal footing with Member States and Associated Countries.
With today's agreement, which is provisionally applicable upon signature, all 19 countries that committed to undertake PRIMA are formally Participating States from the very first year of the initiative. The budget of PRIMA is at present €494 million (of which €274 million from Participating States and €220 million from the EU).
General political context
The EU seeks to develop particular close relationship with Morocco, its geographical neighbour, and to support Morocco's economic and political reforms.
The relationship emphasizes close cooperation on democratic reform, economic modernization, and migration issues. The current agenda of EU-Morocco relations is spelled out in an Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy. Morocco and the EU are bound by the legally binding treaty in the form of an Association agreement.
The Euro-Mediterranean Barcelona process started in 1995 and provides the political framework for Morocco-EU partnership. Within this framework an S&T cooperation agreement was signed in 2003. The agreement promotes the opening of ERA and European Research programmes to the Moroccan participation. The FP7 supported bilateral platform MOBILISE - Morocco and the EU: strengthening Bilateral Links in Innovation and Science for Economy - supports the implementation of the agreement.
At a regional level, Morocco is a member of the MOCO (Monitoring Committee for Euro-Mediterranean research and innovation) which brings together all EU and South Mediterranean countries to define strategic orientations for Euro-Med S&T collaboration.
Morocco’s participation in FP7
In regard to FP7, the trend of participation of Morocco has been increasing. Morocco is the second most active Mediterranean country in FP7 and so far there have been 57 Moroccan public and private institutions which participated in 74 projects under FP7. The total EU contribution to these projects has amounted to almost EUR 296 million, EUR 10 million of which went to the Moroccan partners.
Most applications were submitted under the thematic priorities Food, Agriculture & Biotechnologies, Health and Environment.
Morocco is involved in the multi-lateral dialogue platforms MedSpring, ERANETMED. In addition, Morocco is involved in 2 ERA-WIDE projects MAP2ERA and MoICT (Morocco Research Advance in ICT for Water).
The sixth EU-Moroccan Joint Committee meeting
The sixth EU-Moroccan Joint Committee meeting on Science and Technology took place in Brussels on 12 September 2012. The meeting was carried out jointly with the ENP sub-committee meeting on research and innovation. It was co-chaired by Elisabeth Lipiatou, Head of Unit, European Neighbourhood, Africa and Gulf (D3), DG Research and Innovation, European Commission and Zayer El Majid, Director for Technologies of the Ministry for Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Training for Executives.
At the meeting, both sides exchanged information on recent developments in policy and programmes relating to research and innovation.
The European Commission provided information on the forthcoming programme Horizon 2020 which will open new opportunities for cooperation with Morocco and will bring the country even closer to its ambition to join the European Research Area.
The Moroccan side presented to its European partners its National Strategy for development 2025 and the new Action Plan for RTDI 2013-2016 which clear objective is to use research performance and results in response to the socio-economic needs and challenges.
Both sides reiterated the principles of their partnership namely co-ownership, mutual interest and shared benefits and discussed on-going projects and possible future areas of bilateral, regional and bi-regional cooperation.