Brussels, 5 March 2010
First EU-Morocco summit in Granada on 7 March 2010
The first ever European Union-Morocco summit will be held in Granada (Spain) on 7 March 2010 at the invitation of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister. The European Commission will be represented by its President, José Manuel Barroso, accompanied by the Commissioner for trade, Karel de Gucht, and the Commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, Štefan Füle.
José Manuel Barroso said, "The EU-Morocco summit is an unprecedented event that attests to the pioneering nature of the EU-Morocco partnership. Morocco's geographical proximity and our common history and interests make it a major strategic partner, and it has opted for closer relations with the EU. The Granada summit demonstrates the strengthening of our political dialogue since Morocco was granted advanced Status in 2008. It indicates our joint ambition to move forward and forge closer links, particularly in economic affairs."
This summit will address the state of EU-Morocco relations and future developments, as well as other subjects of common interest such as the Sahara, the situation in the Maghreb and the Sahel, and the Union for the Mediterranean.
EU-Morocco relations, which date back to 1963, have received a significant boost in the past decade with the entry into force of the Association Agreement of March 2000 and the adoption of the Action Plan in July 2005 as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
With the advanced Status granted to Morocco on 13 October 2008, the partnership entered a new, more ambitious phase. Morocco is the first country in the region to be granted this status, which makes it a pioneer in the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The advanced Status agreement constitutes a "roadmap" which widens the sphere of EU-Morocco bilateral relations by setting out new objectives in three main areas: closer political relations, with the holding of an EU-Morocco summit and the establishment of consultation mechanisms at ministerial level; integration of the single market on the basis of gradual adoption of the Community acquis and sectoral cooperation; and a focus on the human dimension.
Morocco is already the foremost beneficiary in the region of European funds allocated to neighbourhood policy countries (€654 million for 2007-2010). In order to help the country in this new statutory phase in bilateral relations, the EU will increase aid for the period 2011-2013.