Public sector governance reforms and 'advanced regionalization' in Morocco : what role for the European Union?
Title: Public sector governance reforms and 'advanced regionalization' in Morocco : what role for the European Union?
Author: BERGH, Sylvia I.
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2016/56; BORDERLANDS
This paper examines the recent, current and potential future role of the European Union in Morocco, especially with regard to public sector governance reforms under the ‘Hakama’ programme, and ‘advanced regionalization’. Based on several interviews with key EU officials in Rabat and Brussels as well as other key informants in donor organizations and academia and a thorough review of primary and secondary written materials, this paper first takes stock of the implementation of regulatory convergence under the ‘Advanced Status’ agreement. It then analyzes the ‘Hakama’ program and past twinning projects as a potential tool to further the EU’s influence, arguing that the EU’s approach of ‘more for more’, where financing disbursements are made conditional on concrete policy reform measures means that it can only push reforms slowly and with limited influence. However, this may be exactly what it wants to do at the current juncture: given its primary concern with stability, particularly post-Arab uprisings, the EU does not want to rock the boat while seeking to still pursue its interests – migration control, anti-terrorism cooperation, economic benefits, all through the effort of ‘exporting the EU order beyond the border’, though with mixed results. Morocco for its part is much less dependent on the EU than it used to be as it has more leverage on the migration and security fronts, and also because many other donors are available who are happy to fund under less stringent conditions. It can thus afford to pick and choose. In this context, the cautious approach regarding the advanced regionalization issue can be explained, as all of these factors mean that the EU does not seem to have a clear plan or vision on what to do or whether it is worth doing anything.
Subject: European Union; Morocco; Advanced regionalization; Public sector; Governance; Twinning
Grant number: FP7/263277/EU
Type of Access: openAccess