The European Union (EU) and Morocco have signed an association agreement that aims to strengthen their economic and political ties. The agreement was signed in 2000 and has been in effect since 2002. It covers a wide range of areas including trade, investment, agriculture, fisheries, and cooperation in justice and home affairs.
Under the agreement, the EU and Morocco have established a free trade area, which allows for the elimination of tariffs on most goods. This has led to an increase in trade between the two regions, with the EU being Morocco`s largest trading partner and Morocco being the EU`s second-largest trading partner in North Africa.
The agreement also includes provisions for the protection of intellectual property rights, the promotion of investment, and the facilitation of the movement of people between the two regions. It also sets out measures to promote sustainable development, including the protection of the environment and social rights.
The agreement has not been without its controversies, however. Critics have claimed that it legitimizes Morocco`s occupation of Western Sahara, a disputed territory that has been the subject of a long-standing conflict between Morocco and the Sahrawi people.
Despite these concerns, the EU and Morocco have continued to work together to strengthen their relationship. In 2019, the two regions signed an updated version of the agreement that includes new provisions on human rights, gender equality, and the fight against corruption.
The association agreement between the EU and Morocco has had a significant impact on both regions. It has facilitated trade and investment, promoted sustainable development, and strengthened political and cultural ties. Although there are ongoing challenges, the agreement is an important example of how countries can work together to achieve mutual benefits.