Morocco, Belgium Reiterate Joint Commitment for Future-Oriented Strategic Partnership (Joint Declaration)

Rabat - In a move towards fostering stronger ties, Morocco and Belgium have lauded the momentum of their bilateral relations, highlighting their joint commitment to deepening cooperation for a strategic partnership aimed at addressing contemporary challenges and future prospects. In the Joint Declaration adopted at the end of the 3rd Meeting of the High Joint Commission of the Morocco-Belgium Partnership, co-chaired by Moroccan Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, both parties also expressed their willingness to strengthen trade and investments, to cooperate on climate matters, energy transition through the development of renewable energies and green molecules, as well as on water management, infrastructure, and transportation. The two executive chiefs also welcomed the regular political dialogue, as evidenced by the visit to Morocco by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Federal Cultural Institutions, Hadja Lahbib, on October 20, 2022, following which a Joint Declaration was adopted between the two countries. Legislatively, both parties emphasized the importance of parliamentary cooperation, which plays an essential role in strengthening bilateral relations, while encouraging the legislative institutions of both countries to intensify their partnership, notably through the creation of a joint parliamentary forum constituting a space for dialogue and exchange. Akhannouch and De Croo emphasized their willingness to further develop economic partnership, particularly by encouraging Belgian and Moroccan companies to explore opportunities for investment, notably through the new "Moroccan Investment Charter," the "Morocco Offer" concerning green hydrogen, and structuring projects planned in view of the organization of the 2030 World Cup, as well as opportunities offered by Belgium as a partner in energy transition, circular economy, and other areas of common interest. In this regard, they reaffirmed their willingness to further strengthen cooperation in the field of energy transition. Furthermore, the two Heads of Government welcomed the organization of a Business Forum on April 16 in Casablanca, which will allow economic operators from both countries to explore the numerous opportunities offered by Morocco and Belgium in terms of trade and investment. They also welcomed the success of the long-standing development cooperation between the two Kingdoms, covering various areas, and the signing, in February 2024, of the Specific Convention of the cooperation program 2023-2028, aiming notably to encourage the economic inclusion of women and youth in a framework of decent work, knowing that part of the program focuses on projects aimed at contributing to the reconstruction phase of the Al Haouz region. Moreover, Akhannouch and De Croo welcomed the progress made in the framework of judicial cooperation, through the permanent exchange of expertise, official visits, and joint commissions, commending the conclusions of the last Joint Commission on c ivil and criminal matters, held in December 2023, notably the concrete implementation of the Convention between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of Morocco on assistance to detained persons and the transfer of convicted persons, and its Additional Protocol. In this Joint Declaration, both parties expressed their willingness to promote innovative judicial cooperation, aligned with the highest international standards, for effective management of cross-border judicial affairs. The two Heads of Government emphasized the common interest of both countries in continuing and strengthening bilateral cooperation to combat threats to national and international security. In terms of security cooperation, they affirmed their willingness to further develop it, notably through the establishment of a regular cooperation structure. Also, they welcomed the implementation of the Convention on cooperation in combating organized crime and terrorism, which entered into force in 2022, and the 2022-2024 action plan in the f ield of police cooperation. The two Heads of Government praised the progress made in the framework of migration cooperation, including the holding of the 1st meeting of the Morocco-Belgium Mixed Migration Group and the joint implementation of effective measures. Taking into account the institutional framework of each party, they emphasized their willingness to further strengthen cultural cooperation between the two countries, which constitutes an important lever for mutual understanding and for bringing the Moroccan and Belgian communities closer together. The two parties thus discussed possibilities to further develop partnership in the cultural field, such as exchanging expertise in the protection, conservation, and valorization of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, cooperation between museums and institutes specializing in arts and heritage crafts, and organizing cultural and artistic activities in both countries. Emphasis was also placed on the importance of developing cooperation between the two countries in the field of sports, especially women's sports. In this regard, Morocco congratulated Belgium for its joint bid with Germany and the Netherlands to host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse