Morocco’s relations with the European Union have never been so dense as today, said Thursday in Rabat, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita. “The year 2023 will be the year of a stronger commitment and ambitions” for the deepening of cooperation relations between the two parties in various areas, said Bourita at a joint press briefing with the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, after their talks. He noted that “over the past three years, we have seen a change in the neighborhood policy towards the southern Mediterranean, with now a greater willingness to listen, a deeper dialogue and a willingness of the southern Mediterranean countries to own the projects we develop”. This partnership, he said, has also deepened at the regional level through pilot projects implemented under this new approach. Bourita stressed, moreover, that the partnership between Morocco and the EU has recorded “tangible positive results in 2020 during the crisis of Covid”, welcoming the support of the approach initiated by HM King Mohammed VI to address the pandemic and its economic and social consequences. He expressed the hope that 2023 will be a year of greater commitment and ambition, through the implementation of the “financial partnership” agreements and the opening of new horizons of cooperation in the areas of security and migration, which will be further strengthened from this year. Bourita also voiced the hope that the year 2023 will see the launch of the cooperation program in the field of research and education “Horizon”, which is a major element in the field of training and exchanges between universities, as well as the opening to other projects in the area of energy security that concern Morocco and the EU. The Minister stressed the need to develop a tripartite regional cooperation between Morocco, the European Commission and Israel, as a “complementary element to bilateral cooperation, which will encompass several areas through coordination between the three parties”. In this regard, he added, “we have prepared a document that we will sign before the end of this month to consolidate the regional tripartite dimension in our relations also, in areas of common interest”. Bourita expressed the hope that this year will also be the year of stronger ambitions in new areas, the establishment of new means of cooperation and financing mechanisms and the acceleration of the implementation of strategic projects, adding that Morocco, under the leadership of His Majesty the King, is surely advancing on the path of implementation of its new development model in order to fulfill the aspirations of its citizens. The reforms undertaken by the Kingdom, under the leadership of HM the King, have enabled it to get out of the gray list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), said the Minister, urging the EU to interact quickly with this news by removing Morocco from the gray list of the Union. The visit to Morocco of the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement is the second of its kind in less than a year, “which confirms the depth, strength and solidity of relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the European Commission,” he said, recalling the last visit to Rabat of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, which was part of the same momentum. The Minister voiced the hope that this positive spirit and pragmatic approach characterizing relations between Morocco and the European Commission will continue in the long term, so that the partnership transcends mere speeches to take on a concrete dimension, thus contributing to the strengthening of ties between Morocco and the EU within the framework of the good neighbor policy.
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