On 14 September, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, visited Morocco, where he was received by the Head of the Government, Saadedine El Othmani, and held meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita and with the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Benchaaboun.
Commissioner Hahn’s visit signalled the first step in the relaunch of the EU-Morocco bilateral relations as well as the intention of both sides to renew their partnership and bring it to a new level responding to strategic interests of both partners.
To that end, Commissioner Hahn and his interlocutors reviewed priorities for the year ahead, and areas of mutual interest that can progressively broaden and deepen the EU-Morocco partnership. Key topics were economic development, economic cooperation and social integration, youth and employment, investment in the private sector, and migration.
On the occasion of the visit Commissioner Hahn and Minister of Economy and Finance Benchaaboun signed an agreement for the Competitiveness and Green Growth programme. The programme worth €105 million is supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with an extra focus on supporting start-ups and fostering innovation. Three months after the launching in Rabat of the European External Investment Plan, this reflects the EU's commitment to support the government of Morocco in its private sector development policies.
In addition, Commissioner Hahn and the Minister signed a €9 million financial top-up to the (€100m) Social Protection programme, a sector that has become a key priority of the Moroccan Government, as stated in the Speech by the King in July 2018.
The Head of the Government emphasised the need to work in triangular cooperation between the EU, Morocco and other African countries building on Moroccan projects for TVET, and access to finance for the private sector.
Both parties agreed with initiating the talks on priorities for 2019-2020, and prepare a high-level reflection on EU-Morocco long term partnership, building on ten years of relationships as advanced status.
- Publication date
- 20 September 2018
- Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations