The Governments of Spain and Morocco signed a Joint Declaration and other agreements in areas of judicial cooperation, promoting tourism, managing water resources and care for women, small children and pensioners.
The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Prime Minister of Morocco, Abdelilah Benkiran, chaired the 11th Spain-Morocco High-Level Meeting at Moncloa Palace.
The two leaders reviewed the “effective partnership” that exists between the two countries on justice and home affairs issues, particularly in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal immigration, explained the President of the Government.
The two leaders paid special attention to driving trade and investment relations.
“Morocco is our main client outside of Europe, behind only the United States, and Spain is Morocco’s leading trade partner. In 2014, trade exchanges between the two countries hit almost 10 billion euros and more than 17,000 Spanish companies targeted the Moroccan market for their exports”, highlighted Mariano Rajoy.
Mariano Rajoy and Abdelilah Benkiran also analysed how to improve the “privileged relationship” that Morocco has developed with the European Union, with Spain’s support. In this regard, Mariano Rajoy recalled that “Morocco receives the greatest financial allocation of any southern neighbour and is also the leading country in terms of negotiating the new model of free trade agreements, as well as in signing a mobility partnership agreement”.
They also tackled various issues of international current affairs. In relation to Libya, Mariano Rajoy indicated that they agreed on the need to reach a political and negotiated exit to the conflict. The two leaders support the mediation work being undertaken by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, the Spaniard Bernardino León.
Rajoy shared opinions with Abdelilah Benkiran on the migratory crisis in the Mediterranean. “We also spoke about the instability affecting the Sahel and, in particular, about the situation in Mali, where Spain heads up the European mission to train the Malian Armed Forces”, highlighted the Spanish Prime Minister.
Rajoy asserted that the fight against Jihadi terrorism is a “shared priority” and an area in which the two countries work closely together. “It is a phenomenon that endangers the security of our citizens and threatens the model of democratic co-existence of our societies. It knows no borders and affects North Africa, the Middle East, the Sahel and Europe equally; it affects us all. And, as I have said on various occasions, it does not represent Islam”.
Excellent bilateral relations
The Spanish Prime Minister and his Moroccan counterpart described the bilateral meeting as very beneficial.
“We have seen how our bilateral relations are enjoying an excellent period, with constant exchanges and visits that help foster mutual confidence and allow us to quickly and decisively respond to common challenges”, said Rajoy.
In this regard, he recalled that since the two leaders have been heading up the governments of their respective countries, they have managed to recover the annual nature of the high-level meetings and visits. In 2012, they held a High-Level Meeting in Rabat.
Rajoy added that Morocco has made a major effort over the last few years.
“It is an exemplary country which is enjoying significant economic growth, it has been capable of reducing the economic imbalances that so harshly prejudice the well-being of the people, such as the public deficit and the foreign trade deficit, and I am absolutely convinced that by continuing to work together and increase our collaboration we are two countries with a very important future ahead of us”, he stated.