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EU Should Drop Teacher-Pupil Logic in Its Relationship with Southern Neighborhood (FM)

Brussels - Europe should move away from the teacher-pupil logic in its relationship with the southern Mediterranean neighborhood, underlined Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African cooperation and Moroccans living abroad in an interview with the Europe agency.

Commenting on the decision of the European Union (EU) to remove Morocco from the gray list of taxation, the Minister noted that the Kingdom has, from the start, considered that dialogue must be the basis for the management of sensitive issues between the two partners and that the EU, with this kind of lists, should take into account the whole partnership.

He explained that "the EU cannot establish criteria and say we use them for the Cayman Islands, we use them for Morocco", noting that "if the southern neighborhood is important, it should not suffer the consequences of decisions taken by the EU".

For Bourita, "countries south of the Mediterranean must be involved, not in the decision, but at least in the reflection", noting that "Morocco has asked the EU to move away from this teacher-pupil logic and to enter into a logic of consultation where each understands the concerns of the other party to reach solutions that could satisfy the interests of Europe without harming the interests of Morocco”.

According to the Minister, the same reasoning is valid with regard to the management of the migration issue.

"Any approach that seeks to find the culprits rather than the solutions is a bad method. Migration is a natural phenomenon between the two shores”, he noted, specifying that the approach should be concerted to find a solution to a common challenge, not intended for name and shame.

Bourita added that the easy solution is to blame everything on the transit countries because resolving the problem at the very beginning seems difficult and because, in the host countries, there is such political pressure that no one wants to have a serene, lucid discussion on the migratory phenomenon. Therefore, making transit countries feel excessively guilty is a bad method.

The minister underlined in this context that "Morocco shoulders its responsibilities, but will never be a policeman because it is neither its vocation, nor its conviction".

Morocco, Bourita went on to say, considers that the migratory phenomenon is exaggerated for political rather than objective reasons, adding that the figures show that African migration towards Europe concerns only a minority: less than one in ten people.

He recalled that in coordination with Spain in particular, Morocco is carrying out operations to combat trafficking networks which are not necessarily located on this Mediterranean shore.

The number of networks dismantled is enormous and the security and material effort made by Morocco aims to ensure that the western migration route is the least used, even if it is the most important route compared to the central and eastern routes.

Regarding the recent communication by the EU on its new southern neighborhood policy, Bourita said that the pandemic calls on the Morocco/EU partnership to plan for the post-Covid-19 era.

The recent communication by the European Commission is relevant for its timing and innovative in its approach, he said, welcoming the fact that European Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi and the EU in general have made an effort to consult the countries concerned before the finalization of the said communication, whereas “before we discovered it from the media”.

The Minister recalled that, in June 2019, Morocco and the EU agreed on four areas of cooperation which are, today, very relevant.

In seven of the twelve proposed flagship projects, notably the Mohammed VI Fund for strategic investments, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, social protection, “Morocco notices a convergence between national priorities and the priorities that the EU wants to set in its relations with the neighborhood", added Bourita.

Responding to a question on "repeated litigation" at the EU Court of Justice related to the agricultural and fisheries agreements, the minister stressed that it is a guerrilla warfare, not a strategy.

He added that "if Europe believes in the partnership between Morocco and the EU, it must be aware that this partnership has enemies. It is up to Europe to react to this judicial harassment".

Source: Agency Morocaine De Presse