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Morocco: European Commission approves EUR 122 million for National Financing Plan

The European Commission is providing € 122 million in its National Financing Plan for 2002 to support Morocco. Four programmes are planned focusing on the country's needs in development of vocational training, modernisation of the Moroccan private sector, the employment situation of rural women and the adaptation of the Moroccan economy to the provisions of the Association Agreement.

€61 million for Business Support Programme: The EU and Morocco share an ambition to establish a free trade area between them by 2012 at the latest. Therefore, the Commission has put particular emphasis on the development and modernisation of the private sector, the strengthening of the Moroccan economy and improving competitiveness. . The € 61 million Business Support Programme contributes to this process in three ways: aligning the national structures and frameworks with those of the EU (quality component), providing assistance to Moroccan companies (modernisation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) and supporting the launch of an upgrading fund in order to facilitate companies' access to financing (financial component).

€50 million assistance programme for development of vocational training: This programme aims to increase the competitiveness of companies by improving the supply of qualified manpower. Three target sectors have been identified: tourism, textiles and new information and communication technologies. The programme will help to identify the skills needed by the companies in the sectors concerned and to tailor training systems to those needs.

€6 million to improve women's income and working conditions: This programme is designed to help women employed in producing and marketing Argan oil from the Arganeraie tree. . Production of Argan oil is traditionally a female activity. The project aims to set up a system of women's co-operatives to produce superior quality oil. Support will be given to obtain legal protection for the oil produced and establish proper control mechanisms. The project has also an environmental component and should thus contribute to improving the area's ecological balance.

€5 million to help implement the EU-Morocco Association Agreement: These funds will help the Moroccan government strengthen its institutions and improve its capacity to meet the commitments made in the context of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement in force since March 2002. Support will be offered in the form of expertise, and technical assistance.The aim is to align Morocco's legislative and regulatory framework with those of the EU and and to support the conclusion of regional free trade agreements.


Background

Morocco's National Financing Plan 2002 has been approved on the basis of the Country Strategy Paper, and the objectives of the Meda programme.

Annual national financing plans are adopted by the Commission in coordination with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Member States. These financing plans are based on the national indicative programmes, which themselves are based on the national strategy papers. Whereas the strategy papers and the indicative programmes define the main objectives of, the guidelines for, and the priority sectors of the EU support, financing plans provide for a list of projects to be implemented.


Brussels,11 16 2002
European Union Redaction
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