Brussels, April 8, 2013 (MAP)
Brussels, April 8, 2013 (MAP)
The success of the ongoing democratic reforms in Morocco makes the goal of establishing a common economic space with the European Union (EU) more attainable, said the European Commissioner for Policy Neighborhood and enlargement, Stefan Fule.
Any progress made in these reforms is a plus in Morocco’s development process and in its rapprochement with the EU in the perspective of creating a common economic space, a focus of Morocco’s advanced status in its relations with the EU, Mr. Fule said in an interview with MAP.
Fule stressed that the EU praised reforms made by Morocco, notably as regards the Constitution adopted in July 2011, to ensure a better check and balance and strengthen the respect of democratic principles and fundamental freedoms, and encourages the Kingdom to implement the provisions contained in the new constitution and to meet the population aspirations for socio-economic development.
Brussels also encourages Morocco to adopt the organic laws related to justice reform and the fight against corruption and set forth the regionalization process, he said, recalling that the EU supports the reform process in Morocco, particularly through financial cooperation that targets priority areas in accordance with the Action Plan of the European Neighborhood Policy (270 million Euros in 2012).
The European official also said that Morocco is engaged in an ambitious process of reforms to address the socio-economic challenges it faces, noting that the opening of the Moroccan economy will accelerate these reforms and create new growth and employment opportunities.
Fule noted in this regard that the future deep and comprehensive free trade agreement between Morocco (DCFTA) and the EU goes beyond trade liberalization and elimination of customs duties. It is pursuing closer economic integration, reducing non-tariff barriers, liberalizing trade in services and enhancing investment protection, he added.
For him, this new generation agreement will cover a full range of regulatory areas and contribute to a more stable business climate and easy access to the largest European market. The agreement will also gradually harmonize Morocco’s legislative and regulatory framework with the EU legal arsenal dealing with the business and economic environment, he said.
In this respect, the European Commissioner noted that Morocco which is already well advanced in the process of harmonizing its legislation with the EU’s is the first partner in the region with which the EU launches (this April 22 in Rabat) negotiations on a DCFTA.
“This is a bold political choice of Morocco that we support and we will continue to support with all the available financial instruments”, he insisted, noting that the EU has set up the specific “Succeeding in the advanced status” program that supports regulatory convergence.
The EU also has a pertinent roadmap to deepen its relations with Morocco on the basis of the Association Agreement and the new European Neighborhood Policy’s work Plan for the implementation of the advanced status for the 2013-2017 period, said Mr. Fule.
He further stated that the EU would like to build on the ongoing, though fragile, progress towards Maghreb integration.
Our recent strategy for the Maghreb aims at supporting cooperation and integration, he said, adding that the EU does not mean to interfere in sovereign countries’ decisions, but wishes to make the most concrete proposals of cooperation.
Several studies show that better integration in the region could lead to significant economic benefits and contribute to joint efforts to combat instability and face a number of regional challenges, he said.
Fule also said that the EU considers that the opening of land borders between Morocco and Algeria will give a strong political signal for a positive evolution of relations between the two countries, adding that the EU wants to explore ways to support Morocco-Algeria interconnections including in transport and energy.