Morocco has been granted an “advanced status” in preparation for a gradual integration into the European Union. The Moroccan Foreign Minister, Taïeb Fassi Fihri, welcomed the “advanced status” and stressed that Rabat would henceforth benefit from “all” the advantages of the EU, “except the institutions.”
Jeune Afrique reports that this status, long desired by Morocco, implies “a gradual integration of the kingdom into the internal markets of the Union.”
“We fulfill the definition of Romano Prodi: ‘everything except the institutions,’” said Fassi Fihri, referring to the 2003 declaration of then president of the European Commission Romano Prodi who had said that the countries south of the Mediterranean could share with the EU “everything except the institutions.” “We’re getting close to the ‘everything’”, insisted the minister.
Concretely, the new status provides for regular EU-Moroccan summits, the participation of Morocco in European operations of crisis management, and the creation of a “common economic space” similar to the European economic space that includes the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Questioned about when such an agreement could be implemented, Hugues Mingarelli, a leader in the European Commission, indicated that it was “impossible to determine a date,” because this negotiation not only means lowering the customs tariffs, but also adapting Moroccan laws to European rules, particularly those relevant to food safety.