29 January 2020 Borrell and Bourita discuss the EU-Morocco enhanced partnership

During a meeting in Brussels on 29 January, HR/VP Josep Borrell and Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, announced that they will continue working on the EU-Moroccan partnership. On the basis of the goals set at the 14th Association Council in June 2018, Borrell and Bourita highlighted the achievements made in the political, economic and cultural aspects of the countries’ partnership. New cooperation programmes worth €389 million were in fact adopted by the European Commission in December 2019 to foster reforms, inclusive development and border management in Morocco. In the joint statement issued after the meeting in Brussels, the representatives declared that “the EU-Morocco partnership is more necessary than ever”. Regional and international issues were also discussed. In relation to the situation in Libya and the Sahel, the two representatives reaffirmed “their commitment to peace and security in the region and expressed their willingness to continue their support for a political solution particularly to the Libyan crisis, on the basis of the Skhirat political Agreement”. The meeting was held amid recent tensions between Morocco and Spain. The Moroccan parliament passed two bills with the aim of reinforcing its legal authority over waters off Western Sahara, which would overlap with Spain’s territorial waters. Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha González, travelled to Morocco on 21 January to discuss the issue with Bourita, and the two ministers agreed on the need to negotiate. Bourita recognised Spain’s role as a strategic partner, while González reaffirmed that “Morocco is a source of stability for Spain“.