EU and Morocco hold their first meeting

From 6 to 7 March the European Union and Morocco will hold a pioneering summit in Granada, which will be the first between the two entities;  the Spanish Presidency hopes that it will mark "a turning point" in the relationship and serve as an example for the region. The summit is also the first between the EU and a third country held under the Treaty of Lisbon, the first between the EU and an Arabic country and the first of the Spanish Presidency-in-turn.

Granada will host the first summit among the North African country and the European Union.The summit will be attended by European representatives including the President of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, in his capacity as the EU President-in-turn and host; the Permanent President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy; the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso; the Commissioner of Commerce, Karen de Gucht; and the Commissioner of the European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Füle.

Morocco will be represented by its Prime Minister, Abbas El Fassi, accompanied by his ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Finance, Agriculture and Fisheries, Education, Industry, Trade and New Technologies, and Foreign Trade.

The summit, according to the Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Angel Lossada, "follows increasingly intensive strengthening of the relations between the European Union and Morocco" which attained a new significance just over a year ago with the granting of Advanced Status.

The EU seeks a strategic relationship with Morocco on all levels and at every scale - politics, economy and human -. The joint statement issued at the end of the summit will reflect shared positions on global and regional issues and will set the roadmap for the future of EU-Morocco relations.

The global topics on the agenda include the economic crisis and climate change, while regional topics are expected to include the little developed integration of the Maghreb, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Middle East peace process, EU-African relations, immigration and security in the Sahel.

Prospects of the Advanced Status will also be analysed, such as cooperation projects in matters of renewable energy and combating terrorism, as well as human rights and the situation in the Sahara, the latter being an issue in which the EU supports the UNO-led process.

The summit will be held on Sunday at Carlos V Palace in the Alhambra, but on Saturday an EU-Morocco corporate meeting will be held in Granada.