The European Union has promised to take the necessary measures to implement the existing Free Trade Agreement with Morocco for processed agricultural and fishery products and thus protect the achievements made by both parties in this area. This commitment was voiced during the Brussels meeting of the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Morocco’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita (7 February). The meeting was held only a day after Morocco issued a strong-worded statement following attempts to block some Moroccan products from entering the European market.
The statement specifically warned that any attempt to sabotage the Morocco-EU farm deal would have negative repercussions. “Acts aiming at blocking access of some Moroccan products to the European market should be sanctioned and treated firmly by our European partners,” the statement released on Monday (5 February) read and especially stressed that “any impediment to the implementation of this agreement threatens thousands of jobs on both sides and constitutes a real risk for the resumption of migratory flows”.
While most migrants from sub-Saharan African heading north to Europe have been travelling through war-torn Libya, scores of others have managed in recent years to enter Spain through Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish enclaves located on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. Morocco’s agriculture and fisheries ministry also warned that if the deal with the EU created obstacles in the implementation of the trade deal, Morocco “would have no other choice but to turn to other countries” including Russia, China, India and Japan as well as African and Arab Gulf nations.
Mrs. Mogherini and Mr. Bourita used the occasion of their meeting to stress, according to a press release, that both parties “remain committed to defending, preserving and strengthening their partnership in its various dimensions.” The two sides also “recognized the importance of maintaining stable trade relations” and “agreed that the technical teams would meet soon to set the details of the way forward,” the press release said. Both leaders also reassured that the discussions between the EU and Morocco would continue in “a climate of serenity and mutual trust, in order to agree on the necessary arrangements to continue and develop their relations, particularly in the field of agriculture”.
Mrs. Mogherini also took the opportunity of the meeting to personally congratulate Morocco on its rejoining to the African Union and added that the EU would work with Morocco to “strengthen the mutual synergies of their partnership on regional and pan-African issues”.