Washington, DC, December 1, 2017 (MACP) – In a speech to the 5th African Union-European Union Summit, King Mohammed VI called for a shift in the EU-Africa partnership toward a “new bicontinental pact” to develop a “constructive agenda” based on action to shape a better future. “Both Africa and Europe must rise, together, to inevitable challenges through shared competitiveness, co-localization of productive businesses, regulated human mobility and fruitful cultural exchanges,” the King said.
King Mohammed VI welcomed Morocco’s “role as a natural link between the two continents,” and thanked the Summit for bringing together “the continent to which my country belongs– Africa – and the continent which is Morocco’s neighbor and partner – Europe.”
Morocco has played a key role in EU-Africa relations on the issue migration, and, King Mohammed VI, in his capacity as Leader of the African Union on Migration, called for a new vision and approach to the issue. “Having been a migrant-emitting, transit and destination country, Morocco has developed an introspective approach to the migration issue, which it perceives in an inclusive, positive light,” he noted, adding, “We realize the challenges posed by migration, but we are also aware of its positive aspects…we ought to turn immigration into a subject of peaceful debate and constructive exchange.”
Toward that end, King Mohammed VI outlined and corrected four myths about migration that have obstructed development of appropriate policy responses:
- African migration is not mostly intercontinental. It is primarily intra-African: out of every 5 African migrants, 4 remain in Africa;
- Irregular migration does not predominate; it accounts for a mere 20% of international migration;
- Migration does not impoverish host countries: 85% of migrants’ earnings remain in host countries; and
- There is no longer any distinction between migrant-emitting, transit and destination countries.
King Mohammed VI urged action on migration, calling on African countries to “shoulder their responsibilities in terms of guaranteeing the rights and dignity of African migrants on their soil,” and for a change in European policy to overcome mistrust of migration in order to develop effective solutions.
In closing, the King expressed his hope for the outcomes from the Summit, noting, “I deeply believe that the Abidjan Summit will be a watershed moment in the African-European partnership, and that it will mark a qualitative leap towards greater stability, security and prosperity on both continents.”
“King Mohammed VI’s speech to the AU-EU Summit was yet another example of his bold leadership on the continent,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “Just under a year after Morocco rejoined the AU, it has taken the lead in confronting migration, one of the most challenging issues of our time. The King’s frank and honest discourse is an important call to action for African and European leaders alike.”
For more on Morocco’s leadership in Africa, take a look at our fact sheet.
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The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a US-based independent non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform and educate opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about the US-Morocco bilateral relationship.