The European Union and Morocco held the eighth meeting of their Association Council last month, marking a new stage in the development of relations between Morocco and the European Union.
The partnership with Morocco is of value for the EU, on account of the part it plays not just in the Maghreb and in Africa but also throughout the Mediterranean. Morocco continues to distinguish itself by its commitment to the European Neighborhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean. EU officials say the EU considers the deepening of bilateral relations with Morocco to be a concrete expression of the principle of differentiation, one of the bases of the European Neighborhood Policy.
In October 2008 Morocco and the EU adopted a document establishing Morocco's advanced status in its relationship with the EU. The joint document formed a roadmap for the progressive and sustained development of bilateral relations in many fields. European policy makers say this stronger partnership between the EU and Morocco is proof of the EU's readiness to respond positively to Morocco's expectations and specific needs, in order to support its process of modernization and democratization, and deepens the existing framework constituted by the Association Agreement.
The parties are said to be working for the strengthening of political cooperation, greater integration into the Internal Market and the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement, as well as enhanced sectoral cooperation.
The European Parliament has given positive consideration to the joint document's recommendations as regards parliamentary cooperation, and the EU-Morocco Joint Parliamentary Committee is in the process of being set up. The Committee has established contacts with the European Economic and Social Committee and with the Committee of the Regions, and the EU wishes cooperation between these two Community institutions and the equivalent Moroccan bodies to be initiated in the near future. Moreover, the EU considers it important to intensify joint work in the areas of security and judicial cooperation and the human dimension.
The EU says it remains fully committed to the successful development of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). The UfM gives a new impetus to EU cooperation with its Mediterranean partners, particularly by enhancing political dialogue, strengthening the joint decision-making mechanisms and increasing the partnership's visibility by launching large regional and subregional projects. In this context, the European Union thanked Morocco for hosting the second ministerial conference on the role of women in society held in November in Marrakesh.firstname.lastname@example.org
The author is the head of the International Department at GSCB Law Firm