Although Morocco has not undergone a revolution like those in Tunisia and Egypt, demonstrators have kept up public pressure on the authorities to reform. The response has been a series of limited concessions, including a constitutional review that will publish its findings in June. This is the opportunity for the European Union and its member states to ensure that real progress is made towards reform – change that will not only benefit the people of Morocco, but the EU as well.
In A chance to reform: how the EU can support evolution in Morocco, based upon a recent ECFR research trip to the country, Susi Dennison, Nicu Popescu and José Ignacio Torreblanca argue that the EU has the influence and opportunity to bring about a stable and genuinely democratic Morocco. They argue that:
- The EU should demand real progress in constitutional reforms, and offer technical support through the ‘Venice Commission’ (the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters).
- The EU should emphasise corruption, education and press freedom.
- The EU should reach out to the ‘20th February’ opposition alliance of students, left-wing activists and non-parliamentary Islamists.
- The EU should offer trade in exchange for democratic advances, and key EU members France and Spain should stop pushing for unconditional EU assistance.
‘The EU should make it clear that they expect the proposals to lead to independent, accountable democratic institutions – parliament, executive, judiciary and free media – rather than a further attempt to fake liberalisation, and that Morocco’s relationship with the EU will be conditional on its democratic progress’.