Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Agreement between the EU and Morocco on agricultural and fishery products

Delivered in Plenary - 14th February 2012

Mr President

Morocco is a stable North African kingdom with close historical relations across the Mediterranean to its nearest European neighbours. My Group is in favour of all measures which ensure that Morocco remains a prosperous and stable country in North Africa and welcomes the recent political and constitutional reform programme from the King, which has so far progressed peacefully without the civil wars that we have seen in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

As a general political principle we believe that ENPI aid alone is not enough to stabilise the southern Mediterranean and that economic growth to provide the kind of jobs for young Moroccans which will mean that they will stay in their countries and be employed and have prosperity in their own country can come through foreign direct investment and tariff-free or reduced-tariff access to our markets for Moroccan exporters, including for agricultural and fisheries products. This is a vice-versa process. We hope that our finished goods, processed goods from the EU in these sectors, will be exported back to Morocco. So this agreement is a good one; the cake gets bigger for everybody.

This does not mean that we do not support self-determination for the Sahrawi people through a referendum, as agreed by the UN resolutions, and we are reassured by the Commission that this will not be the case, and that the Western Sahara question has got nothing to do with what is basically a trade agreement between Morocco and the EU.