Morocco and the European Union maintained relations for over half a century. The solid foundations of this partnership have grown steadily. The political commitment of the European Union to support the important efforts of the Moroccan state in its fight against COVID-19 is the latest example of this partnership. In the year 2020, the EU mobilized more than 5 billion dirhams to meet the immediate health and socio-economic needs of its partner. The EU and Morocco committed to supporting the post-covid-19 recovery with the transition to a more sustainable society and consumption patterns; a stronger ambition to fight against climate change; highlight the economic opportunities of a greener and cleaner economy; and the development of regional cooperation.
Important Dates of the Partnership
The Euro-Mediterranean Morocco-EU Association Agreement, entered into force in 2000, governs relations between the EU and Morocco.
The European neighbourhood policy in 2003 completed and strengthened this partnership, by making the dialogue between the two parties permanent and better structured. Technical committees bringing together experts from European institutions and the Moroccan administration meet regularly on themes such as political dialogue, justice, security, or Human rights.
The signing of the roadmap on advanced status in 2008 markedly enabled: the strengthening of dialogue and cooperation on political and security levels; the gradual integration of Morocco into the EU's internal market through legislative and regulatory convergence; and the broadening of the partnership to new actors, including Parliament, the Economic, Social and Environmental Committee, as well as civil society;
The joint declaration for a partnership for mobility in 2013, followed by the action plan for the implementation of the advanced status in 2015, mark important steps in the political, human, technical and financial convergence between the two parties.
The joint declaration of 2019 for a shared prosperity partnership is the culmination of this relationship, adopted during the Association Council since it highlights the spaces of shared values between the two partners and their common ambitions.
Finally, the new agenda for the Mediterranean adopted by the EU on February 9, 2021, in consultation with the partners of the EU, includes all the priorities that Morocco and the EU had already identified, namely:
- Ensuring an ecological transition by fighting climate change, protecting natural resources, and promoting green growth. The European Union and Morocco are working together on the formulation of a green partnership, which will detail their joint action on climate, environment, and the green economy.
- Human development, good governance and the rule of law.
- Resilience, prosperity and digital transition.
- Facing together the challenges of migration, and encouraging legal and safe mobility.
- An economic and investment plan that identifies key programs, among which the Mohammed VI Fund for investment figures prominently. The European Fund for Sustainable Development (FEDD+) will be mobilized along with other European financial institutions to contribute to the Mohammed VI fund.
Trade and investment relations between the EU and Morocco are intense: the EU is Morocco’s leading trade partner, and Morocco is the EU’s biggest trade partner among the Southern Neighbourhood. The EU is also the biggest foreign investor in Morocco, accounting for more than half of the country’s FDI stock.
- The EU is Morocco's largest trade partner, accounting for 56% of its goods trade in 2019. 64% of Morocco's exports went to the EU, and 51% of Morocco's imports came from the EU. Morocco is the EU’s biggest trade partner among the Southern Neighbourhood countries, with 25% of total EU trade in goods with the region.
- Total trade in goods between the EU and Morocco in 2020 amounted to €35.2 billion. The EU's imports from Morocco amounted to €15.1 billion. The EU's exports to Morocco amounted to €20.1 billion.
- Two-way trade in services amounted to €10.7 billion in 2019. EU imports of services represented €6 billion and exports amounted to €4.7 billion.
EU and Morocco
The EU and Morocco established a Free Trade Area as part of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, signed in 1996, which entered into force on 1 March 2000. The EU and Morocco also signed an Agreement on additional liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, processed agricultural products, and fish and fisheries products, which entered into force in October 2012. Trade in industrial products is entirely liberalised, while market opening for agricultural products is also substantial. Both parties agreed upon a protocol establishing a Dispute Settlement Mechanism, which entered into force in 2012. Negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) started in 2013. A Sustainability Impact Assessment carried out by an independent contractor accompanied the launch of negotiations. The last negotiating round was held in April 2014.
New developments: In 2021, under the new EU Trade Policy Review, the EU has offered to discuss modernising trade and investment relations with Morocco, to better adapt them to today’s challenges, notably in respect of value chains and the greening and digitalisation of our economies.
In 2004, Morocco signed the Agadir Agreement with Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia. The agreement committed all parties to remove all tariffs on trade between them and to harmonise their legislation with regard to standards and customs procedures. The Agadir Agreement entered into force in July 2006, and an Agadir Technical Unit in Amman ensures its implementation. Lebanon and Palestine joined the Agreement in 2020.
Trading with Morocco
- Rules and requirements for trading with Morocco.
- Importing into the EU from Morocco.
- EU trade defence measures on imports from Morocco.
- Exporting from the EU to Morocco.
- Export rules on food and plant health.
- Trade defence measures in force in Morocco.
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with Morocco.
- Morocco is a member of the World Trade Organisation.
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
The Partnership in the field of Sustainable Fisheries between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco has existed for more than 30 years and is implemented through a series of bilateral agreements and implementation protocols, since 1988.
These instruments allow, on the one hand, EU ship-owners to carry out their fishing activity in waters outside the Union through the payment of financial compensation for access, and on the other hand, to contribute financially to fisheries governance and the development of the local fishing sector.
The Fisheries Partnership Agreements provide a transparent governance framework within which EU vessels fish part of the available surplus covered by the agreement.
These agreements focus on resource conservation and environmental sustainability and do not compete with local fishing activities.
In Morocco, successive protocols have also made it possible to support the "Halieutis" strategy for the development of the sector, by strengthening scientific and control capabilities, building landing docks, fishing villages and fish markets, the organization of training and awareness-raising activities for fishermen, the financing of a program to eliminate drift nets, etc.
A new protocol was ratified in July 2019 and is being implemented until 2023.