Morocco, EU Sign Five Cooperation Programs Worth €500 Mln
Morocco and the European Union (EU) signed, Thursday in Rabat, five cooperation programs worth 5.5 billion dirhams (nearly 500 million euro) to support the Kingdom’s major reform projects. Signed by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of the Budget, Fouzi Lekjaa, and the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, the 5 cooperation programs concern social protection, green transition, public administration reform, migration management and financial inclusion. This concerns the “KARAMA” program, with a budget of € 130 million, which is the second phase of the program to support social protection in Morocco funded by the EU. Its main goal is to support the reform of the country’s social protection system, by improving the quality and efficiency of basic social services and establishing a universal social protection system. This program will support specific measures to ensure equitable access to universal health coverage, family allowances, unemployment insurance and pensions for the Moroccan population, and will strengthen social assistance and the rights of vulnerable people, including migrants, by providing them with appropriate care and protection. As for the “AL ARD AL KHADRAA – GREEN LAND” program, which is part of the EU-Morocco Green Partnership, it is financed by €115 million and aims to support the green, inclusive and innovative aspects of “Generation Green” and “Forests of Morocco”. The main goal is to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of agricultural and forestry activities while promoting the rural populations’ social and economic inclusion. Similarly, the Public Administration Reform Support Program, financed to the tune of €50 million, aims to improve citizens’ access to public services, organize government services more efficiently, and promote the dematerialization of administrative procedures. This program aims to simplify and digitize administrative procedures for citizens and businesses, as well as to improve the transparency and quality of public services, and will help decentralize administrative services to bring them closer to citizens. The Migration Flow Management Support Program is in line with the goals of the Kingdom of Morocco’s National Immigration and Asylum Strategy benefits from €152 million. The purpose of this program is to support the Moroccan authorities in their efforts to address the challenges of irregular migration, migrant smuggling and human trafficking. The program also aims to improve migration management by strengthening the institutional and legal framework, promoting access to basic services for migrants and their integration. The Financial Inclusion Support Program aims to improve access to financing for businesses and people who have difficulty accessing financial products and services, with a funding amount of €51 million. Speaking on this occasion, Lekjaa stressed that the signing of these agreements for important projects represents a major step in the economic, social and environmental development of the Kingdom. He also commended the EU commitment EU to support the efforts of Morocco in its quest for sustainable and inclusive development, recalling that these projects reflect the quality and density of cooperation ties between the Kingdom and the EU, as well as the importance of community support for the country’s development efforts. For his part, Várhelyi said that Morocco is and will remain a key partner for the EU, adding that the Union has begun the implementation of the renewed partnership and the economic and investment plan presented less than a year after his visit to Morocco. He noted that in addition to these five programs, there is an ambitious program in support of Morocco’s national strategy for migration and mobility. Both parties welcomed the level of Morocco-EU cooperation links, while expressing their willingness to engage in joint reflection to strengthen access to Community financial resources.