Brussels, 04/03/2016
160304_04_en
STATEMENT

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press point with Mr Salaheddine Mezouar, the Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

Rabat, 4 March

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I am very happy to be here in Morocco, at the invitation of my friend and counterpart, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Salaheddine Mezouar, for in-depth discussions on all the key issues that are close to our hearts.

As you know, our discussions have been open and constructive. Naturally, they centred on the political issues relating to the recent decision of the European Court of Justice, but they also covered other important bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.

As I have already stated, during my visit in July and at the Association Council in Brussels, Morocco is a key partner in our Southern Neighbourhood. We want not only to preserve the privileged relationship we share with this important country, but also to strengthen it, to our mutual benefit.

We are facing major challenges - I do not need to name them for you - and we must tackle them together: this is the responsibility we bear on behalf of our respective peoples.

With regard to the judgment of the General Court of the European Union of 10 December 2015, I am well aware of the strategic importance of this issue, both for Morocco and for the European Union.

The Council disagrees with the General Court's judgment of 10 December 2015, so an appeal has been brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The EU maintains its view that the agreements between Morocco and the European Union do not violate international law, and it is for this reason that an appeal has been lodged. The agricultural agreement, meanwhile, remains in force.

I provided clarification and reassurance during the dialogue with the Moroccan authorities, alongside the Minister.

The European Union and Morocco will work in close partnership on this matter.

 

Since December, new contacts between the European Union and Morocco have been established at all levels to deal with this issue. Regular, ongoing and transparent interaction and dialogue will be put in place.

To this end, the Minister will travel to Brussels before the end of March to finalise the content of this interaction with the European side.

We have agreed that we understand each other's respective positions and that we will renew contacts in all areas. We also agree that the key word in our partnership is 'trust'. It was this trust that we shared today.

Thank you.