Rabat – A European official has stressed the importance of Morocco in Europe’s plan to reinforce the Euro-African framework of collaboration.
On a “friendship trip” to Morocco, Belgium’s former Prime Minister Elio di Rupo said on Thursday that his country has always been keen on strengthening ties with Morocco, and remains an important partner for the North African country.
According to Di Rupo, Morocco’s strategic location gives it prime importance in Europe’s rising interest in Africa. Rabat, the Belgian argued, should be the natural focal point in any current and prospective Euro-African agenda.
Both for Belgium as an individual European state and for the European Union as whole Morocco constitutes a bridge to Africa, he pointed out.
Di Rupo said Brussels is planning to invest more in African affairs, suggesting that Morocco would be the point of departure of that Euro-African impetus to cooperate on security, trade, and other sectors.
The goal of such increased Euro-African cooperation would be to invest in security, stability, and human development.
The former Belgian PM also hailed Morocco’s security efforts. He especially pointed out the kingdom’s “successful and effective” anti-terrorism system, saying that Rabat could inspire other African countries to duplicate its anti-terrorism architecture.
Di Rupo’s comments come as Europe shows interest in Africa in the hope of finding a sustainable solution to the migration crisis. Faced with a wave of migrants from Africa, European officials have recently called for the need to devise new paradigms in the relationship with Africa.
While attending the MEDays forum in Tangier in November 2018, Belgium’s budget and civil service minister Andre Flahaut told Morocco World News that “Europe’s last hope is to listen to the south.”
He noted that Europe’s neglectful and patronizing attitude to Africa contributed to deepening the crises now facing both continents.
Flahaut said, “When I say engage with Africa, I mean genuine and sincere cooperation. I don’t mean Europe’s traditional inclination towards neocolonialism and paternalism when dealing with countries in the South…. Being partners with someone means being respectful of each other’s potential and listening to each other to move forward together.”
According to its proponents, the objective of the new Euro-Africa cooperation is to favor concerted efforts to face the future together.