Morocco 2011: a year of major political reform
ENPI INFO CENTRE
EU Neighbourhoud – An ENPI PROJECT
Morocco 2011: a year of major political reform
The year 2011 in Morocco was marked by a major political evolution: in the wake of popular demand, the King announced a profound constitutional reform; the new Constitution, adopted by referendum on 1 July, opened the way to major democratic reforms, and early legislative elections were held on 25 November. These are some of the conclusions of the report on progress made on implementation of the EU-Morocco ENP Action Plan between 1 January and 31 December 2011, released in May by the European Commission. The report includes recommendations on how Morocco can step up the implementation of the AP.
While the King retains significant powers, the new Constitution brings in a separation of powers by increasing the role of Parliament and of the head of government, strengthens gender equality, guarantees the freedom of expression and assembly, as well as press freedom, incorporates the rights and fundamental freedoms of citizenship, and takes important steps towards transparency and the fight against corruption.
On democracy and human rights, Morocco, has waived all reservations on the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW). It has obtained the status of Partner for Democracy at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In practice, there nevertheless remain some restrictions to the freedom of association and assembly, as well as cases of intimidation towards journalists, while the new press code has still not been adopted.
Justice reform remains a key challenge to support the state of law and consolidate the credibility of reforms, and the EU has indicated its willingness to support the process once it is elaborated in more detail. Corruption also remains a major problem, the report says.
A dialogue on migration, mobility and security was launched with the EU in October 2011, in order to put in place safer and more fluid conditions for the migration and mobility of European and Moroccan citizens.
On trade matters, the report notes significant progress in the trade in services and the right of establishment, as well as moves towards conformity of industrial products and alignment of phytosanitary norms. The medium-term objective remains the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
The government continued the implementation of structural reforms, in line with the objectives of the Action Plan, and the Moroccan economy saw continued growth in 2011, thanks to prudent macro-economic policies. Unemployment, however, remains high, especially among young people, graduates and urban women.
The report comes up with a number of recommendations to sustain implementation of the ENP Action Plan in 2012, inviting Morocco to:
• Implement the principles established in the new Constitution, especially the adoption of basic laws and the creation of structures for its application.
• Draft a strategic plan for the reform of the justice sector in view of strengthening its independence and improving its functioning.
• Continue reforms in order to ensure good governance in the management of the State and to fight more resolutely against corruption.
• Guarantee in practice the respect of freedom of association, assembly, expression and the press (including through adoption of the new press code), and promote the active participation of civil society.
• Reform the system of generalized subsidies in order to contain public debt, while ensuring a better targeting of disadvantaged sectors of the population.
• Strengthen the fight against unemployment, in particular among women and young people.
• Improve the situation of the most disadvantaged sectors of the population, by strengthening social cover and stepping up the fight against illiteracy.
• Deepen and make more systematic the convergence with the acquis communautaire, on the basis of a strategic convergence plan which could fully take advantage of the EU programme on ‘Achieving the Advanced Status’.
The Morocco Progress Report is part of a set of documents released by the EU in the framework of its annual assessment of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The package also incudes reports on progress in relations between the EU and its other Neighbours in the South, and a report on the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity”, concerning Southern Mediterranean, including a roadmap. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future action
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – EU assesses reforms in the Neighbourhood (15 May)
EU Info Centre country page Morocco
EU Delegation – Morocco