Morocco is a flagship country and a pillar of stability in the region, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said on Thursday in Rabat.

He stressed the "extreme importance" of the Morocco-EU partnership.

In a global context marked by multiple challenges, it is not easy to find stable partners like Morocco, hence the "extreme importance" of the Morocco-EU partnership, stressed Mr Várhelyi, who spoke at a press briefing held after his talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans living abroad, Nasser Bourita.

The European Commissioner, who is currently on a working visit to the Kingdom, said that the signing, on Thursday, by Morocco and the EU of five cooperation programmes worth a total of nearly €500 million to support the Kingdom's major reform projects, testifies to the Union's "direct and serious" commitment to Morocco.

"With all of our commitments, we are really changing the nature and depth of our cooperation," he said.

adding that the reforms launched in Morocco are ambitious reforms that are close to European values.

Morocco is and will be a major beneficiary of the EU's project agenda for the entire region, Várhelyi said, adding that this financial support covers social, economic, agricultural, water and energy aspects, the latter being a crucial sector on a global scale.

The Kingdom has the potential to become a source of energy not only for the region but also for Europe, Várhelyi said, adding that the European market is ready to receive energy from Morocco.

He also stressed the importance of other areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and the EU, including migration and the fight against criminal networks.

On the resumption of relations with Israel, Várhelyi expressed the EU's willingness to participate in this cooperation, which will help to address the major challenges facing the region, including water management.

This trilateral cooperation, he said, would also make it possible to meet the challenges of research, development and rapprochement between peoples.

The European Commissioner also took the opportunity to congratulate Morocco on its release from the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), praising the Moroccan-European cooperation that made this result possible.

The second of its kind in less than a year, Mr Várhelyi's visit to Morocco, from March 1 to 3, 2023, comes in the context of the implementation of the Joint Political Declaration, adopted in June 2019, having instituted the “Euro-Moroccan Partnership of Shared Prosperity” which is articulated around four Spaces: political and security; Economic; values; knowledge, and two horizontal axes: the Environment and migration.

Olivier Várhelyi's visit to the Kingdom of Morocco confirms that relations between Europe and Morocco have never been so strong and diversified, as shown by the visit to Morocco, on February 28, 2023, of the Austrian Federal Chancellor, at the head of an important delegation from his country, followed by the holding, in Rabat, of the 17th session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM).

These important meetings were held in the wake of the Moroccan-Spanish High-Level Meeting (HLM), which reinforced the adherence of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Kingdom of Spain to a renewed process of bilateral cooperation, which response to the strong aspiration of King Mohammed VI and HM King Felipe VI to anchor the bilateral strategic partnership and translate its major orientations into a clear roadmap, in the service of the interests of the two friendly peoples.

They are also part of an abundant and virtuous dynamic of contacts, meetings and interactions that have led to the conclusion of concrete cooperation agreements at all levels.

In this context, the many visits to the Kingdom make it possible to differentiate between, on the one hand, a credible, serious and institutional Europe that appreciates Morocco and its geostrategic assets at their true value and, on the other hand, certain minority European parties that try to oppose the quality and the inevitability of relations between Morocco and Europe with low blows, intrigue and silent conspiracy.

These detractors of the vitality and good health of Morocco-European relations, whose cowardice prevents them from acting openly, are today covered in ridicule in the face of the futility of their unfortunate attempts to deviate from Morocco-European relations that are strong in concrete achievements, but also in promising future prospects.

The latter's attempts have been doomed to failure, as they have not been able to taint the Morocco-EU relationship.

Especially since both the EU and Morocco are interested in agreeing on the next steps and shaping an even deeper partnership.

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