Today, in an official visit in Morocco, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi announced new cooperation programmes worth €624 million in total to support Morocco’s transition to green energy, enhance cooperation on addressing irregular migration management and support Morocco’s ambitious reform plans in key areas such as social protection, climate policy, reform of the public administration and the judiciary systems.
The new assistance package signed today comprises five programmes:
- Reinforcing social protection – The “KARAMA” programme, worth €130 million, will support a major Social Protection reform, including specific actions to ensure a fair access to universal health cover, family allocations, unemployment insurance and pensions for the Moroccan population.
- Supporting the green transition – the programme “Terre Verte”, worth €115 million, aims at supporting Morocco’s agriculture and forestry strategies as well as improving decent employment, ‘green’ entrepreneurship, and the social security coverage of workers.
- Addressing irregular migration– A €152 million comprehensive programme on migration will strengthen Morocco’s border management actions in the fight against smuggling networks, the National Strategy of Morocco on Immigration and Asylum, as well as the voluntary return and the reintegration of migrants to their countries of origin, in accordance with international standards in terms of Human rights.
- Supporting the Reform of the Public Administration – A €50 million programme will strengthen the access to and quality of public services for citizen and business, through the simplification and digitalisation of administrative procedures, the increased transparency and monitoring of the quality of public service delivery.
- Enhancing Financial Inclusion – A €51 million programme will support the Moroccan National Strategy for Financial Inclusion that aims to increase access to finance for MSMEs and start-ups and targets in particular vulnerable populations such as youth, women and people leaving in rural areas.
The additional adopted programmes as part of the 2022 Annual Action Plan announced today comprise:
- A €50 million programme called “Energie verte”, aims at boosting Morocco’s greening of its economy and energy sector, in line with commitments under the EU-Morocco Green Partnership.
- A €46 million programme on Higher Education to support the Moroccan Acceleration Plan for the Transformation of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation (ESRI Pact). It will promote opportunities for students, graduates, researchers, and teachers and enhance the role of Moroccan Universities in the socio-economic development of the territories.
- A €10 million programme to support cultural and creative industries in Morocco and job creation for youth in this sector. Part of this programme will also be devoted to protecting the Jewish heritage in the country.
- A €10 million programme on justice in support of Morocco’s objective to strengthen the rule of law by enhancing the independence of judicial institutions, foster their efficiency and effectiveness and improve the accessibility of citizens by improving the quality of judicial proceedings.
- Morocco will benefit from the trans-Mediterranean digital connectivity “MEDUSA” project, a submarine cable system with 16 landing points interconnecting four North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt with five European countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Cyprus). The new system, supported under the Economic and Investment plan for the Southern Mediterranean with an EU grant of €40 million, should be operational by 2026.
The EU-Morocco partnership focuses on common challenges such as economic development, innovation, climate change, justice, security, mobility, migration and good governance.
On 9 February 2021, a new Agenda for the Mediterranean was adopted by the European Commission and later endorsed by the European Council to relaunch and reinforce the EU’s partnership with the region. It is accompanied by an Economic and Investment Plan, expected to mobilise up to €8.4 billion in investments in Morocco by 2027. This includes €1.68 billion in grants from the EU budget.
The EU has been supporting Morocco’s investments under the Neighbourhood Investment Platform, and more recently the EFSD. In particular, it has contributed to funding key infrastructures in the energy, water, and transport sectors, in cooperation with European Financial Institutions (EIB, EBRD, AFD, KfW such as the Ouarzarzate and Midelt energy farms, the urban railways in Rabat and Casablanca and the wind energy programmes in Midelt and Essaouira.
In October 2022, the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco have consolidated their cooperation on protecting the environment, conserving biodiversity, and fighting climate change with the launch of the EU-Morocco Green Partnership, the first Green Partnership the EU signs with a partner country to advance the external dimension of the European Green Deal and one of the Flagships of the European Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours.
The EU has established a close partnership with Morocco on migration and border management since 2004. This increased further in 2013 with the Mobility Partnership and in 2018 with our support for the implementation of the National Immigration and Asylum Strategy (SNIA). During 2022, the EU negotiated with Morocco a new long-term and predictable budget support programme under NDICI-GE in the migration sector for a maximum duration of 4 years and a total allocation of €152 million.