By Hicham Bennani
By Hicham Bennani
Casablanca – In 1958, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands decided to establish an economical block to create a single market, and consequently gave birth to the European Economic Community (EEC). The United Kingdom joined the European community in 1973.
In 1993, the European Union (EU) replaced the EEC to allow other countries in, and to widen the scope of the union to climate, environment, health, external relations, security, justice and migration issues. Today, the EU comprises of 28 European countries. 19 out of the 28 EU member countries use the euro (€) as their official currency.
To brexit or not the brexit, that is the question
In fact, that is not the first time the UK holds a referendum to vote on the issue of European membership. In 1975, a referendum was held in the UK, where 76% of the electorates voted to stay within the EEC. The referendum planned for June 23rd 2016, will be the second time the British electorate would be asked to vote on the issue of European Union membership.
The United Kingdom (UK) consisting of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Gibraltar will vote in the referendum.
Regardless of the pros and cons of the Brexit on the UK, the brexit could be beneficial and harmful to Morocco on two levels: Casablanca Finance City and the Moroccan Sahara.
How would Brexit benefit the Moroccan Casablanca Finance City (CFC)?
With the UK within the EU, banks and financial institutions are able to sell their services to the European bloc, particularly FOREX trading, investment banking, insurance and asset management. With the UK out, it would be harder for these institutions to compete within the EU, which could push them to dislocate and move their services to other financial hubs.
The Casablanca Finance City (CFC) has a lot to gain from the brexit, mainly by attracting the harmed financial institutions. This could be done by offering them added values and benefits, and by initiating new laws and reforms to improve the business environment in the CFC.
How would Brexit harm Morocco on Western Sahara , Ceuta and Melilla issues?
In September 2014, Scotland held an independence referendum to decide on whether to remain in the UK or become an independent country. Voters decided to stay in the UK with a very narrow margin ( 55 percent Vs 45 percent). According to the polls, one of the reasons Scots decided to stay, is the risk of Scotland leaving the EU in case of independence.
Now, if brexit succeeds, Scotland will automatically leave the EU. That means that if Scotland decides to go for another independence referendum, the voters will most probably vote out. If Scotland becomes independent, Catalonia and Gibraltar might also vote for independence.
If Spain loses hope of recovering the sovereignty of Gibraltar, Morocco can forget about recovering Ceuta and Melilla and the Chafarinas islands.
On another hand, if Catalonia and Scotland become independent, the UK and Spain would most probably try to push for a referendum through the UN in the Moroccan Western Sahara, whose result is uncertain.
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