MFA Nasser Bourita Receives European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement

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M. Nasser Bourita reçoit le Commissaire européen au Voisinage et à l’Élargissement
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, received on Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Rabat, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Mr. Oliver Varhelyi.

In a joint press conference following their meeting, MFA Bourita welcomed the Commissioner’s visit, which comes after the one the President of the European Commission, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, paid to Morocco, highlighting that it falls within the rich and regular contacts between Morocco and the European Union (EU).

He also confirmed that Morocco seeks a solid partnership with the EU based on mutual respect, convergence of interests and shared values for stronger, more resilient and future-oriented relations.

MFA Bourita added that Mr. Varhelyi’s visit comes at a time when the Morocco-EU partnership is witnessing a sustained progress and has a positive record of accomplishment. He emphasized that Morocco remains endowed with the largest budget in the southern neighborhood, being the first country in terms of flagship projects with seven projects out of 12 included in the Economic Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours.

The Minister also said that the Morocco-EU partnership is witnessing a qualitative upgrade with the participation of Morocco in projects like “Horizon Europe” and “Europe Creative” and by capitalizing on promising fields such as the green and digital partnerships.

The two officials discussed new ways to strengthen the partnership in all areas so that Morocco and the EU can set up an innovative framework that would serve as a model for the EU in its relations with its neighborhood.

For his part, Mr. Oliver Varhelyi commended the ambitious reform program led by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, which objectives converge with the Economic Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours.

Welcoming the joint commitment to fight against irregular migration, the second major component of the Morocco-EU partnership, Mr. Varhelyi expressed his gratitude for the hard and consistent work Morocco has accomplished in this area.

In this regard, the Commissioner said that the two parties agreed to intensify cooperation mainly in areas such as the fight against smuggling of migrants, border protection, and the readmission of migrants.

When it comes to Morocco-Israel relations, Mr. Varhelyi welcomed their resumption as a sign of peace in the region, underlining the efforts undertaken to deepen relations between both countries.

Regarding the Sahara issue, he reaffirmed the EU's support for the efforts of the UN Secretary General, and expressed his conviction that the political process must be sustained in order to achieve a just, realistic, pragmatic, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the artificial conflict over the Moroccan Sahara.

He deemed as serious and credible the efforts made by the Kingdom to achieve a lasting solution to this issue while encouraging all parties to pursue their commitment for a peaceful solution, in a spirit of realism and compromise.

Mr. Varhelyi’s visit witnessed the signing of a document relating to “Link Up Africa” project which is the first triangular cooperation between the EU, Morocco and Africa to provide youth with access to training and jobs, with a budget of 3 million euros in its first stage.

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