Morocco earns "advanced status" with EU
Morocco and the EU sign an agreement Monday to increase free trade, security and political and economic cooperation.14 October 2008
LUXEMBOURG -- Morocco moved closer to Europe on Monday as officials from the North African nation and EU member states signed an "advanced status" agreement that will reduce trade restrictions and increase political and economic cooperation.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, who spent years urging for such a deal, said it will allow Morocco all the benefits of the EU "except the institutions".
"This is an historic day for Morocco and for Europe", he added.
The agreement places EU relations with Morocco a level above countries such as Egypt, Israel, Georgia and Ukraine, which form part of the EU's “neighbourhood policy”. Though the deal signed Monday lacks details, in the long term it will extend the EU's free-trade area to Morocco, while increasing security and political and development cooperation.
"This European engagement on the advanced status is proof of confidence... in Morocco's efforts in terms of political reforms, consolidation of the rule of law, a better justice system, economic reforms, social cohesion and the fight against poverty", Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri said.
[El Pais / Ricardo Martínez de Rituerto / Expatica]