New German Government reaches out to Morocco, a central partner of Europe

New German Government reaches out to Morocco, a central partner of Europe

The new German government has reached out to Morocco this Monday in a bid to turn the page on the diplomatic crisis which has been straining bilateral relations for months.

The German Foreign Ministry actually issued a statement hailing the Kingdom as a central partner of Europe and expressing Berlin’s support for Morocco’s efforts to resolve the Sahara conflict, while stressing the importance of the autonomy plan.

The federal government’s position on the Sahara issue has not changed for decades. Germany recognizes as “important” the contribution made by Morocco to the settlement process with its autonomy plan, the statement said.

In the warmly worded statement, the new German foreign ministry called Morocco “a key partner of the European Union and of Germany in North Africa”.

Germany and Morocco have maintained diplomatic relations since 1956. This is an important link between the North and the South both politically, culturally and economically, the statement pointed out.

The department of the new Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also laid focus on the “vast reforms that the Kingdom has embarked on over the past decade” and on its “important role in the stability and sustainable development of the region”.

The German statement also welcomed Morocco’s diplomatic engagement in the Libyan peace process.

The statement, which comes in the aftermath of the appointment of a new government in Germany, addressed the Sahara conflict that raised tensions between the Kingdom and the European country earlier this year.

In this connection, it said that the federal government’s position on the Sahara issue has not changed for decades and that “Germany supports the Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General in his efforts for a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution on the basis of Security Council resolution 2602.” “Morocco made an important contribution to such an agreement in 2007 with an autonomy plan,” it said.

In addition, the federal government underlined the “significant economic, academic, cultural and commercial relations existing between the two countries”.

“Germany supports Morocco’s modernization process and given the volume of its commitments, namely nearly €1.2 billion in 2020, it is one of the main bilateral donors.”

Germany’s foreign ministry hailed in this vein bilateral economic and trade relations as “remarkable.” In 2019, Germany ranked 7th in the Moroccan trade balance. The same year, its imports from Morocco stood at €1.4 billion, and its exports at €2.2 billion.

German-Moroccan development cooperation focuses on the areas of sustainable economic development and employment, renewable energies and water resources management. In 2020, Germany provided support to Morocco in managing the coronavirus crisis in the form of a massive emergency aid program, the statement recalled, adding that nearly 300 companies with German participation are represented in Morocco, in particular in Casablanca and Tangier. Besides, Morocco is a popular travel destination, with around 6% of foreign tourists coming from Germany in 2019.

Morocco is part of the G20 Pact with Africa initiative aimed at improving the framework conditions for private investment. To this end, the two countries agreed to a German-Moroccan reform partnership at the end of November 2019, the statement said, before listing the German foundations operating in Morocco and the cultural and education programs promoted by Germany in the kingdom.

The Foreign Ministry’s statement was issued less than a week after the German embassy in Rabat pointed out in a statement shared on social media that “The Kingdom of Morocco is a key partner for Germany. From the federal government’s perspective, it is in the interest of both countries to return to good and traditionally expansive diplomatic ties.”

The embassy said that “the federal government also would like to openly welcome the normalization of ties between Morocco and Israel.”

A fog of uncertainty and tension has been building up between Morocco and Germany since last March for what analysts explain as attempts by Berlin to separate the economic from the political dimension of the bilateral partnership.
Following the US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern provinces, Germany has shown an agitation calling for a UN Security Council meeting and going as far as attempting to undermine Morocco’s gains.

Morocco has also deplored Germany’s actions to undermine Morocco’s regional influence especially on the Libyan issue.

Last May, Rabat also said German authorities “act with complicity towards a former terror convict by disclosing to him sensitive information provided by the Moroccan security services to their German counterparts”

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