EU launches new cooperation programmes with Morocco worth €624 million
In an official visit to Morocco, the European Union's (EU) Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner, Olivér Várhelyi, announced new cooperation programmes worth €624 million. The EU's assistance package will support Morocco's transition to green energy, address irregular migration management, and aid in the implementation of Morocco's reform plans.
Overview of the Assistance Package
The assistance package comprises of five programmes:
Reinforcing Social Protection
The "KARAMA" programme worth €130 million aims to support a major social protection reform. It includes specific actions to ensure fair access to universal health coverage, family allocations, unemployment insurance, and pensions for the Moroccan population.
Supporting the Green Transition
The "Terre Verte" programme worth €115 million aims to support Morocco's agriculture and forestry strategies. Additionally, it aims to improve decent employment, 'green' entrepreneurship, and the social security coverage of workers.
Addressing Irregular Migration
A comprehensive programme on migration worth €152 million will strengthen Morocco's border management actions to combat smuggling networks, support the National Strategy of Morocco on Immigration and Asylum, as well as the voluntary return and the reintegration of migrants to their countries of origin in accordance with international standards of human rights.
Supporting the Reform of the Public Administration
The €50 million programme aims to strengthen access to and the quality of public services for citizens and businesses. This programme will simplify and digitalize administrative procedures, increase transparency and monitoring of the quality of public service delivery.
Enhancing Financial Inclusion
The €51 million programme aims to support the Moroccan National Strategy for Financial Inclusion, which aims to increase access to finance for MSMEs and start-ups. It targets vulnerable populations such as youth, women, and people living in rural areas.
Additional Adopted Programmes
Apart from the above programmes, the EU also announced additional adopted programmes as part of the 2022 Annual Action Plan. These programmes include:
The €50 million programme aims to boost Morocco's greening of its economy and energy sector, in line with commitments under the EU-Morocco Green Partnership.
The €46 million programme aims to support the Moroccan Acceleration Plan for the Transformation of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation (ESRI Pact). It will promote opportunities for students, graduates, researchers, and teachers and enhance the role of Moroccan Universities in the socio-economic development of the territories.
Cultural and Creative Industries
The €10 million programme aims to support cultural and creative industries in Morocco and create jobs for youth in this sector. Part of this programme will also be devoted to protecting the Jewish heritage in the country.
The €10 million programme aims to support Morocco's objective to strengthen the rule of law by enhancing the independence of judicial institutions, foster their efficiency and effectiveness, and improve the accessibility of citizens by improving the quality of judicial proceedings.
Trans-Mediterranean Digital Connectivity
Morocco will also benefit from the trans-Mediterranean digital connectivity "MEDUSA" project. It is a submarine cable system with 16 landing points that interconnect four North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt) with five European countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Cyprus). The project, supported under the Economic and Investment plan for the Southern Mediterranean with an EU grant of €40 million, should be operational by 2026.
In conclusion, the EU's new cooperation programmes will aid Morocco in transitioning to green energy, addressing irregular migration, and implementing reform plans in critical areas such as social protection, climate policy, public administration, and judicial systems. These programmes will play an essential role in enhancing Morocco's