Cooperation between Morocco and the Council of Europe
Visit by Mr Driss El Yazami, President of the National Human Rights Council of Morocco, to Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
The primary objective of the cooperation, in line with the Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions, is to assist Morocco in the ongoing process of democratic reforms, which started several years ago, by helping the country to tackle challenges related to human rights, the rule of law and democracy, and in particular:
- to consolidate the results of the cooperation implemented since 2012 through the “Neighbourhood Cooperation Priorities with Morocco 2012-2014” and to initiate new areas of cooperation in line with national reform priorities, based on the demand‑driven approach, in the fields of Council of Europe expertise;
- to continue the efforts made to facilitate the creation of a common legal area between Europe and Morocco, encouraging the authorities to bring Moroccan legislation into line with European and international standards and to ratify the Council of Europe conventions open to non‑member states, with due regard for the procedures set out in the relevant conventions;
- to provide support to the development and the effective implementation of new legislation in accordance with European and other international standards according to needs;
- to provide support to the setting up and functioning of human rights institutions and new governance structures;
- to enhance Morocco’s presence in the Council of Europe structures of which it is already a member or observer (Venice Commission, the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, the European Pharmacopoeia, the Pompidou Group’s MedNet network) and other Council of Europe bodies, according to needs.
This framework of cooperation is a flexible, dynamic strategic tool setting out priorities for cooperation between Morocco for the period 2015-2017. The main areas of cooperation have been identified on the basis of high‑level consultations as well as of detailed technical consultations between the relevant Moroccan authorities and the Council of Europe.
Consultations have also been carried out with other international organisations – in particular, the European Union, as the main partner of the Council of Europe’s action in Morocco – and with bilateral actors, so as to ensure a coordinated approach. Hence, the priority areas of cooperation aim to foster synergies between all the relevant actors to avoid duplication.
The implementation of activities foreseen in the Neighbourhood Partnership document has already started, in particular in the framework of the European Union-Council of Europe Joint Programme "Towards strengthened democratic governance in the Southern Mediterranean" (South Programme II, 2015-2017).
The Council of Europe and Morocco
The relationship between the Council of Europe and Morocco has gradually evolved since the adoption in 2008 of the joint European Union-Morocco document and has been enhanced in the context of the implementation of the Neighbourhood Policy established by the Council of Europe in 2011, making Morocco a privileged partner in the region.
Further to the fruitful Neighbourhood Co-operation Dialogue held between the Council of Europe and Moroccan authorities and the successful implementation of the Neighbourhood Cooperation Priorities for Morocco in 2012-2014, the Committee of Ministers decided to give a new momentum to the relationship with this country. Cooperation with Morocco, which shares with the Council of Europe the values of human rights, the rule of law and democracy, is pursued through a Neighbourhood Partnership combining and strengthening the two pillars of the policy- political dialogue and cooperation- along the lines fixed in Istanbul in 2011. The Neighbourhood Partnership thus offers a framework for an “Enhanced Political Dialogue” the intensity of which could reflect the quality of the cooperation between Morocco and the Council of Europe.
Morocco, which has always expressed an interest in consolidating dialogue and cooperation with the Council of Europe institutions, welcomed the Committee of Minister's initiative to open up promising prospects for the enrichment of this mutually-beneficial bilateral partnership.