MFA Bourita: “The European Neighbourhood Policy retains all its strategic relevance”

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M. Nasser Bourita
Rabat- Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, took part on Thursday, November 26th 2020, by visioconference, in the EU-Southern Neighbourhood Ministerial Meeting.

This meeting gathered the 27 member countries of the EU as well as the Southern Neighbourhood countries, with the participation of the EU High Representative, Mr. Josep Borrell, and the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Mr. Oliver Varhelyi.

In his speech on the occasion of the EU-Southern Neighbourhood Ministerial Meeting, MFA Bourita said that, after 17 years of implementation, the ENP retains all its strategic relevance, in spirit, method and experience.

Thus, the ENP is materialized by an institutionalized political dialogue, with more than € 30 billion invested between 2003 and 2020, through diversified, sometimes complex but always adapted support methods, structured sectoral cooperation and open access to agencies and programs, the minister pointed out.

However, the 17 years of the ENP have shown some limits to be overcome, he said, noting that in the end, it has not deployed a sufficiently fruitful offer to reduce the development gap between the two shores. "The wealth produced in the South is 13 times less than in the North, and the standard of living gap is almost 1 to 5," Mr. Bourita observed.

To overcome these limitations, Mr. Bourita suggested, at first, returning to the basic idea of the ENP and having a concrete reflection of its guiding principles (differentiation, complementarity, solidarity, ownership, more for more ...).

The ENP must transcend pure financial logic, Bourita underlined, adding that a renewed ENP would benefit from having flexible instruments, tailored to each partner’s commitment and priorities. He also pleaded for greater involvement of the South in the “decision shaping” concerning it, like the members of the European Economic Area.

Regarding Morocco, MFA Bourita said that the European Union is a geostrategic evidence. "His Majesty King Mohammed VI is a keen expert on the EU, its mechanisms and its Partnership with Morocco. The Sovereign has set a course for us, which is our doctrine", he stressed.

With its advanced Status, Morocco has made, with the EU, the choice to recapitalize relations around a global partnership, assured Mr. Bourita, affirming that "we are determined to optimize the opportunity represented by the revision of the ENP, to go together on future-oriented areas, such as the twin transitions - digital and green - through the conclusion of Green and Digital Pacts".

The minister also mentioned "research and innovation in the field of health, in order to constitute a bulwark against future crises". The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed to promote prosperity, stability and security within the EU's neighbours and to avoid new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours.

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