EU supports Morocco with new programs worth €389 million

EU supports Morocco with new programs worth €389 million
The capital of the kingdom of Morocco is Rabat, a city with a population of 650,000. Credit: YoTuT/Flickr.

The European Commission has launched new programs worth a total of €389 million in support of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Building on an already existant partnership between the EU and Morocco, the cooperative programs have been launched in order for the EU to support reforms, inclusive development and border management in Morocco, as well as to work towards developing a ‘Euro-Moroccan partnership for shared prosperity’, a statement explains.

“Morocco plays a crucial role as a partner of the European Union. Together, we will contribute to the sustainable and inclusive growth of Morocco, we will fight smuggler networks which endanger the lives of vulnerable people and we will improve the protection of migrant victims from these criminal networks. Morocco can count on the EU, our partnership will continue uninterrupted during my term of office,” member of the European Commission in charge of Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, explained.

The new programs include €289 million to support Morocco’s reforms and inclusive development. More specifically, this money will be used to improve; access for vulnerable categories of people to education and vocational training, the health sector, care and access to medicine, transparency and the efficiency of public services, support for human rights and institutional support for the Moroccan Parliament.

In addition, the new programs include a financing agreement with Morocco for a budget worth €101.7 million to support border management and the fight against human trafficking. At the centre of this program will be respect for human rights and protection of vulnerable migrants. Part of the program will also involve analysis and collection of data on migration in order to contribute to providing the basis for a deeper partnership and dialogue between Morocco and the EU.

This budget will also support the management of land and sea borders, as well as airports, by helping Morocco to modernise, including by using new technologies and exchanging best practices with the EU agencies, Frontex and Europol.

Following the extension of the Single Support Framework between the EU and Morocco to include 2019 and 2020, these new cooperative programs were made possible.

In 2000, the EU-Morocco Association Agreement entered into force. A number of years later, in 2008, the special nature of the relationship between the EU and Morocco was recognised when Morocco was granted ‘advanced status’. In 2013, an Action Plan implementing the advanced status was signed, providing specific guidelines for cooperation between the two entities. Most recently, in June 2019, the Joint political declaration was adopted at the last EU-Morocco Association Council.

Following consultations involving various different stakeholders, three sectors (equal access to basic services, support for democratic governance, the rule of law and mobility and employment and sustainable and inclusive growth) towards which financing would be prioritised during the period of 2014 to 2020 were agreed upon.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

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