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Brussels, 19 December 2012

S. Füle at the press conference after talks in Morocco

''C'est pour moi un honneur et un grand plaisir d'être ici au Maroc, et d'avoir eu l'occasion de rencontrer le nouveau chef du gouvernement M. Abdelilah Benkirane ainsi que les Présidents des deux chambres du Parlement M. Karim Ghellab and M. Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, le Ministre des Affaires étrangères M. Saâeddine El Othmani et le ministre de l' Economie, M. Nizar Baraka. Le Maroc est un partenaire important de l'Union européenne avec qui nous avons établi un statut avancé. Nous voulons maintenir une relation forte qui, dans le respect de nos intérêts mutuels, permette à nos peuples de se développer librement.

''I was here almost exactly one year ago and since then many things have changed in Morocco and the in Arab World. In the EU we have changed too by changing our policy towards southern neighbours. Now we are talking about policy that is not a strait-jacket but sets out principles like local ownership of the reform process, mutual accountability, more for more and inclusiveness of the democratic, economic and social reforms to the benefit of the people.

Morocco is undertaking substantial democratic and economic reforms. I came to express the EU's appreciation and support for these reform efforts, which we see very positively. Today is a very important day as the Parliament, which has new powers based on the new constitution, hears the government present its programme.

The EU is committed to work on deepening relations with its Southern Neighbours and Morocco is a key partner for us.

Not only because we are Morocco's first trading and investment partner but also because our relations are an example of how genuine reforms can be accompanied by EU solidarity.

What is important is the real implementation of political, economic and social reforms. Because only then can you meet the people's legitimate aspirations for more rights and better lives.

We are confident that the recent elections have reflected the free choices of voters and welcome all the changes introduced by the new constitution. Furthermore, the continuation of reforms (notably poverty eradication, justice reform, social development, press freedom) will contribute to social cohesion, improving stability and consolidating Morocco's achievements.''

Commissioner Füle together with the Minister of Economy launched two projects directly benefiting the population: for the Ouarzazate Solar Power Plant and the Drinking Water Efficiency Programme in order to help Morocco to reduce its energy dependency and increase efficiency in water delivery.

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