El País, 5 March 2010

Granada to host EU Morocco summit

Published on 5 March 2010 at 12:13
El País, 5 March 2010


Granada, Spain, once the residence of the medieval Muslim rulers of Andalusia, is the venue for the EU-Morocco summit on 7 March, the first to be organized since the granting of advanced status to the kingdom in 2008. "This meeting is an acknowledgement of Morocco's desire to be included in the European project," explains Bernabé López García in the columns ofEl País. The professor of Islamic studies believes that the status, which allows for deepening ties and cooperation amounts "to a recognition of the economic, political and social progress made by Morocco." However, some argue that the country does not deserve such a privilege, particularly in the light of its low ranking in the Human Development Index (130th) and its brutal treatment of political opponents like the Sahrawi human rights activist Aminatou Haidar. In recent years, López García argues, democratic reforms have been suspended or even compromised. However, regionalization which could affect the status of Western Sahara, represents "a fresh opportunity." For the former representative of the EU in Rabat, Bruno de Thomas, the agreement will oblige Morocco to implement structural reform that will have a significant effect on archaic conditions in the country.


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