As Morocco’s importance grows in European policymaking, there are more calls for further integration of Morocco into the European Common Market.
Rabat – European MP, addressing the European commission in a written note, has said that Europe would benefit more from increased economic integration with Morocco than from only negotiating on select topics.
Winning Morocco’s heart
Inmaculada Rodriguez-Piniero Fernandez of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party said in her remarks to the EU commission that a number of Europe’s policy successes will need Morocco’s full cooperation.
To ensure that the North African country is fully committed to its engagements with Europe, the EU should make bolder political moves in favor of Rabat. Fernandez suggested that Europe would gain stronger support and political will from its non-European neighbors should it succeed in demonstrating how sincerely committed it is to its own “good neighborhood” agenda.
Noting the Euro-Mediterranean integration process launched in 2000, the Spanish MP urged Europe to create resources and opportunities through “sincere cooperation.”
As far as Morocco is concerned, Fernandez proposed that Brussels pushes for further integration into the EU Single Market.
Managing migration through opportunities
In addition to bolstering Brussels-Rabat ties on a host of issues—mainly security, migration, agriculture, and food—accepting Rabat in the European common market would create more opportunities and development impetus in Morocco, Fernandez argued.
Fernandez hopes that increased integration, including “legislative convergence,” economic integration, and strategic security cooperation, will be more effective in curbing irregular migration than tough policies operating solely on securing borders. Opportunities in migrants’ home countries or continent, not heavy-handed border policies, will convince more migrants to stay, Fernandez suggested.
A strong EU and Spanish ally, Morocco has been an important partner for the European political club on migration and security issues. To seal their partnership and bring it to a higher dimension, Brussels and Rabat launched negotiations in March 2013 to “accelerate” economic integration.
The goal was for Morocco to join the EU’s Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
“The overall goal of the negotiations is to create new trade and investment opportunities and ensure a better integration of Morocco’s economy into the EU single market. The DCFTA also aims at supporting ongoing economic reforms in Morocco and at bringing the Moroccan legislation closer to that of the EU in trade-related areas,” according to the EU commission. Negotiations are still ongoing.
Fernandez’s call comes as Morocco pushes to get more benefits from its cooperation with Europe.
Last week, Spanish media reported that, in addition to the financial and logistic support the EU promised Morocco on migration, the North African country is demanding cooperation on education. El Pais reported that Rabat sent Madrid “a list of demands in exchange for intensifying border control.”
“In addition to the 140 million Euros the EU has promised Morocco, the Maghreb country is demanding aid to train workers in key sectors such as tourism and health,” the report explained.