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Has the MEDA Programme been a

force for change in Morocco or does it


fall prey to the general criticisms of
European Union development
assistance?

Olga Guerrero Horas

Student ID: 261969


Supervisor: Gonzalo Pozo
MA International Studies and Diplomacy
Word Count: 11,000
Submission Date: 15th September 2010

‘This dissertation is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the


degree of MA International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental
and African Studies (University of London)’
‘I have read and understood regulation 17.9 (Regulations for students of

SOAS) concerning plagiarism. I undertake that all material presented for

examination is my own work and has not been written for me, in whole or in

part, by another person(s). I also undertake that any quotation or paraphrase

from the published or unpublished work of another person has been duly

acknowledged in the work which I present for examination. I give permission

for a copy of my dissertation to be held at the School’s discretion, following

final examination, to be made available for reference’


Signature: Olga Guerrero Horas

Date: 09.09.2010

2
Table of contents

Abstract…………………………………………………………………...........4

Introduction………………………………………………………....…………6
I. The donor: The European Union……………………………………11
1.1 Structure of EC aid………………………………………….....12
1.2 Focus of EC aid……………………………………………......16
1.3 General criticisms to EC aid……………………………….......19
II. The recipient: The Mediterranean Partners…………………..........23
2.1 The regional context: Economic, Political, Social…………......24
2.2 Recipient’s interests……………………………………….…...30
2.3 Criticisms to Moroccan implementation…………………..…...33
III. Case study: MEDA in Morocco……………………………………...34
3.1 MEDA: The programme………………………………......…...35
3.2 Objectives of MEDA………………………………………......39
3.3 Project cycle of MEDA………………………………………..44
3.4 MEDA initiatives in Morocco………………………………....49
3.4.1 Assessment of Policies………………………….....49
3.4.2 Assessment of Context………………………….....57
IV. Conclusion………………………………………………………….....60

Bibliography……………………………………………………………...64

3
Abstract

The European Union has devoted much time and resources to establishing new
channels for dialogue and cooperation with neighbouring Mediterranean
countries. The MEDA (mésures d’accompagnement) programme was the main
instrument for financial cooperation within the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership Framework for ten years. Both the motives driving the programme
and the means used for delivering aid are frowned upon by EU members and
recipients. EU aid is accused of being a power projection tool, too focused on
neighbouring middle-income countries and subject to unclear conditionality.
Furthermore, the means are characterized by a tortuous administrative system,
resulting in repeated delays. Such criticisms get lost in the complexities of
European organization and the different areas covered by its foreign policy.
Thus, this dissertation seeks to critically assess the impact of the MEDA
programme in Morocco. This will demonstrate that the caveats of programme
and its implementation are consistent with the criticisms EU aid and result in
stalled and limited achievements. The principles of democracy, human rights
and development that Europe advocates for end up being overshadowed by the
European self-interest in maintaining a discriminatory status quo at the
expense of its neighbours. This disposition will not bring us closer to the safe,
just and sustainable Mediterranean region we need and should support.

4
Estoy enormemente agradecida por todo el apoyo que he recibido tanto de mi
madre como de Daniel a lo largo de mis estudios de master, que concluyen
con esta disertación. Tampoco puedo olvidar la ayuda y ánimos de mi
supervisor en asuntos académicos y otros más complicados.

5
Introduction

Development and development assistance are today one of the main issues of

concern to world leaders and multilateral organizations. This political concern

with helping the poorest nations of the world began in the post World War II

period. The responsibility and need for action towards underdeveloped nations

is reflected in Harry S. Truman’s 1949 statement, used to present the “Point

Four Programme”, the first development aid programme.

“We must embark on a bold new program for…the improvement and growth

of underdeveloped areas. More than half the people of the world are living in

conditions approaching misery…for the first time in history, humanity

possesses the knowledge and the skill to relieve the suffering of these

people”.1

These first efforts of the “West” to save the “Rest” resulted in an extraordinary

increase of aid from 1960 to 1992, when aid amounted to $68 billion.2 Since

then, and still following the same reasoning presented by Truman,

development aid has become one of the key components to international

relations and countries are either aid donors or aid recipients.3 Increasingly

more so in a global and interdependent world, where poverty and

underdevelopment are seen as contributing significantly to terrorism, conflict

1
William Easterly, The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest
Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006),
p.21.
2
«Official Development Assistance 1950-2010 (Current prices),» cited in: Roger C.
Riddell, Does Foreign Aid Really Work? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007),
p.22.
3
Roger C. Riddell, Does Foreign Aid Really Work?, p.1.

6
and global instability. This explains the aid revival after 9/11 and the new

record of $120 billion of net official development assistance reached in 2008.4

The extent to which development aid contributes to its ultimate goal of the

eradication of poverty is controversial, and so is the debate about aid. Critics

such as Milton Friedman, Peter Bauer and William Easterly highlight the

cases where aid has enlarged government bureaucracies, perpetuated bad

governments, enriched the elite in poor countries or has just been wasted in

the pursue of utopian goals.5 Supporters of aid such as Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph

Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern focus on the successful cases of Botswana,

Indonesia and Tanzania.6 A comprehensive discussion of this debate is beyond

the scope of this dissertation, however some of the controversies of aid will be

examined in the light of the Moroccan case study.

In order to discuss aid and assess an aid programme it is crucial to set the

boundaries of the term aid itself. Aid was formally termed Overseas

Development Assistance (ODA) by the Development Assistance Committee

(DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

(OECD).7 For the purpose of this dissertation, I will use the term ODA in the

4
OECD, OECD Observer: Development Aid: the funding challenge, April de 2009,
http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/2866/Development_aid:_The_fu
nding_challenge.html (accessed 20 de 07 de 2010).
5
See for example: William Easterly, The White Man's Burden: Why the West's
Efforts to Aid the Rest have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2006).
6
See for example: Nicholas Stern, «Making the Case for Aid,» World Bank, A Case
for Aid: Building a Consensus for Development Assistance (Washington: The World
Bank, 2002).
7
The Development Assistance Committee, DAC in Dates: The History of the
Development Assistance Committee, (Paris: OECD Publications, 2006), p.7.

7
sense provided by the DAC as development and emergency aid provided by

official donors. I will use the terms “foreign aid” and “aid” indistinctively to

describe aid from all sources.

“ODA consists of flows to developing countries and multilateral institutions

provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by

their executive agencies, each transaction of which meets the following two

criteria: (1) it is administered with the promotion of the economic

development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective, and

(2) it is concessional in character and contains a grant element of at least 25

per cent (calculated at a rate of discount of 20 per cent)”.8

Hence, ODA can be provided directly from one country to another (bilateral)

or by an international organization which pools resources from several donors

(multilateral). Theoretically, multilateral aid is less politically driven and

biased, therefore more likely to be channelled to recipients on the basis of

need and with fewer conditions imposed. In practice, multilateral agencies are

also subject to the influence of the largest donors and some funds are granted

only with a particular focus, limiting the decision power of the organization.9

Furthermore, some donors are difficult to categorise as either multilateral or

bilateral. Such is the case of the European Union. A priori we might think of

8
Helmut Führer, The Story of Development Assisstance: A History of the
Development Assisstance Committee and the Development Co-operation in Dates
and Figures (Paris: OECD, 1996), p. 24.
9
Roger C. Riddell, Does Foreign Aid Really Work?, p.77.

8
the European Union as a multilateral donor pooling funds received from its

member states but in fact the EU’s aid programmes are by the OECD/DAC

reports under “Policies and Efforts of Bilateral Donors”. Thus, for the purpose

of this dissertation I will be treating EU aid as bilateral aid.

In fact, the European Union is the second largest bilateral ODA donor after the

United States, channelling over $8 billion in 2004.10 However, according to

the yearly donor atlas provided by the Commission, the top aid recipients tend

to be neighbouring middle-income countries and not poor countries that need

help the most.11 This lack of poverty focus, Europe’s opaque bureaucracy and

the lack of results are some of the main criticisms to the ODA managed by the

European Commission (EC hereafter). Donors and recipients are discontent.

Some members are reluctant to channel more aid through the European

institutions and receiving and partner countries are not satisfied with the speed

and predictability of aid.

But such vague criticisms to European Union aid get lost in the complexities

of its organization and the different areas covered by its foreign policy. Thus, I

want to look at these criticisms in the light of the achievements of the MEDA

programme (Mésures d’accompagnement financières et techniques à la

réforme des structures économiques et sociales dans le cadre du parternariat

euro-méditerranéen, MEDA henceforth). This has been the basic financial

instrument for cooperation between the EU and Mediterranean countries under

10
Open Europe, EU aid: is it effective?, Research Paper (London: Open Europe,
2007), p.2.
11
European Commission, EU Donor Atlas, (Brussels: European Commission, 2003).

9
the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership throughout the period 1995-2006.12 It is

an important and ambitious project and it serves as an interesting case study

for three reasons. Firstly, because of its size. The programme came to

represent approximately 75% of the EU funds destined to the Middle East and

North Africa region.13 Secondly, because this made it the most important

project in the increasingly large part of the EU’s aid budget to the “near

abroad” to middle-income countries, focus of the criticisms of many members.

Thirdly, because the official rhetoric and the organisational frameworks

established around it demonstrate it is an example of politicised aid subject to

coherence with European interests and a form of soft power.

This dissertation seeks to critically assess the impact of the MEDA

programme in Morocco and examine whether its flaws conform the already

mentioned criticisms to EU aid. For that, I will begin by analysing the donor

and recipient to understand their relationship. This will bring us to the

discussion of the EU and its complex organization, often the most pointed out

reason for its inefficient performance as a donor, as well as the nature of the

aid provided. Consequently, I will turn to consider the Middle East and North

Africa Region, where the majority of EC ODA is destined. The evaluation of

the challenges to growth the region faces will allow us to understand why

countries seek cooperation with the EU. Finally, the analysis of the case of

Morocco will illustrate the particular challenges to development the country

12
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on,» Documentos
CIDOB Mediterráneo, June 2008, p.5.
13
Eric Philippart, The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Unique Features, First
Results and Future Challenges, CEPS Middle East and Euro-Med Project Working
Papers (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2003), p.4.

10
faces, how the EU has attempted to contribute to aid it and whether

development policies through MEDA have had an impact.

To conclude, I will summarise the arguments discussed and link them to

broader notions about international relations and multilateral diplomacy.

I. The donor: The European Union

Defining the European Union as a donor is not an easy task. Undoubtedly, the

EU is first and foremost an economic actor which emerged originally as an

entity with the purpose of preventing member states from engaging in conflict

through the creation of commercial interdependence. However, its interest in

trade and cooperation with third parties have long been present. In fact, the

European Union’s development co-operation policies have its roots in the

1958 Treaty of Rome, the founding treaty of the European Economic

Community (EEC). In Part IV of the Treaty, members agreed to associate with

countries in the developing world so as to establish close relations and

promote their social and economic development.14

Analysing the European Commission’s role as a donor and its relationship

with its Mediterranean neighbours first requires to have an overview of the

14
European Union, «Consolidated Version of the Treaty Establishing the European
Community,» Official Journal of the European Communities C83 (2 2002), p.90.
Jesús Nuñez Villaverde, interview by Olga Guerrero Horas, , MEDA programme in
Morocco, (22 de 07 de 2010). Jesús Nuñez Villaverde, «Mediterráneo: el viaje a
ninguna parte de la UE,» Instituto de Estudios sobre Conflictos y Acción
Humanitaria, 14 July 2010, http://www.iecah.org/ver_completo.php?id_articulo=738
(accessed 16 de July de 2010).

11
internal structure and administration within the EC. I will then look at the

allocation of EU aid and its particular focus on the Middle East and North

Africa region. This will lead me to discuss cooperation with Mediterranean

counties and in particular the Euro Mediterranean Partnership framework

through which aid was channelled. Both the European aid architecture and its

focus on neighbouring countries are the main criticisms to European aid both

from benefiters and member states. I will briefly mention these criticisms.

1.1 Structure of EC aid

When it comes to development policy and funding, Europe follows a complex

and fragmented organizational system. Member states have independent

relationships and their own players, agencies, administrations and institutions

for bilateral relationships with donor countries. There are also civil society

organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and other non-state actors

that assist developing nations independently.

At the same time, Europe also works together through the European Union

institutions to carry out a common development policy, which has the purpose

of “promoting a European approach to development across the EU countries to

influence international debate and work more effectively to combat

12
poverty”.15 For this, the European Union receives aid funds from its member

states, which are then managed by the Commission.

The European Commission (henceforth EC) is the third pillar of the

institutional organization of the European Union. It is the executive body with

a right of initiative on policies and legislation.16 It is also responsible for

setting the agenda for the European development policy and it federates

European policy around the world. The ultimate goal of its development

policy is to eradicate poverty through sustainable development, democracy,

peace and security. 17

The bloated internal structure of the European Commission is often cited as

the reason for the inefficiency of its policies. Development cooperation

policies are no exception and several attempts to improve its institutional

efficiency have resulted in numerous structural changes. It is cumbersome to

provide a detailed analysis of these reforms and also of the impact they have

had on the programming and implementation of development programmes

such as MEDA, which was in place from 1995 to 2006 witnessing two

structural reforms.

The most recent changes introduced since the approval of the Lisbon Treaty in

2010 do not affect my case study so I will not take them into consideration. I

15
European Commission, About us,
http://ec.europa.eu/development/about/mission_en.cfm (accessed 24 de August de
2010).
16
APRODEV, EU funding for partners, Presentation (Brussels: APRODEV, 2008).
17
European Commission, About us.

13
will therefore outline the external aid structure since the 2000 reforms, which

coincides with the latest phase of MEDA II. In May 2000 the European

Commission carried out an important reform of its assistance programming

because the existing division of responsibilities was unclear and the use of

resources was inefficient.18 These changes included the reunification of the

project cycle, the dismantling of the existing eighty Technical Assistance

Offices (TAOs), the creation of a EuropeAid co-operation Office and the

devolution of project/programme management tasks and responsibilities to

Delegations.19

The arrangements under scrutiny are showed in figure 1 below. Although I

have stated that the European Commission is responsible for the setting of the

development policies, it illustrates how the overall external action

responsibilities of the EU are shared between the Council Secretariat and the

European Commission. On one hand, The Council Secretariat structures

include policy planners, geographic desks, civilian and military European

Security and Defence Policy and special envoys to the UN offices.20 On the

other hand, the European Commission is divided into four different

Commissioners with different responsibilities of Trade, Enlargement, External

Relations and Development. Each of these separate commissioners is

supported by a Directorate General (DG) of civil servants. It is the

18
ECORYS-NEI, The Mid-Term Evaluation of MEDA II, Final Report (Rotterdam:
ECORYS-NEI, 2005), p.32.
19
Ibid.
20
Mikaela Gavas and Simon Maxwell, Options for architectural reform in European
Union development Cooperation, ODI Background Notes (London: Overseas
Development Institute, 2009), p.2.

14
Commission and its role which I will focus on since it is the institution that is

accountable for the MEDA programme which I examine.

Of these Commissionsers, it is the DG External Relations (RELEX) and the

DG Development Commissioner that are in charge of the development and

humanitarian aid. The DG Development manages the aid implementation in

the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. RELEX is responsible for

the programmes in the geographical regions of Asia, Latin America, the

Middle East, South Africa and Neighbouring countries.

Figure 1. EU external relations structure, 2005.

Source: Options for an architectural reform in European Union development


cooperation, Overseas Development Institute,
(www.odi.org.uk/resources/download/3610.pdf)

However, the Commissioners are just responsible for policy and

programming. There are separate implementation offices such as EuropeAid,

15
created in 2001 after the 2000 reforms, and the Humanitarian Aid department

(ECHO). These are all represented in the figure below, where the financial

instruments for each region are also listed. The MEDA programme focus of

this study is not represented in this chart, since it was only in place until 2006.

Instead, we find the development programme in place for the Mediterranean

region since 2006, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument

(ENPI).

1.2 Focus of EC aid

The geographical scope of EC aid has evolved throughout time and since the

1980s and 1990s the majority of aid recipients can be found in the

Mediterranean and the Middle East regions.21 We can distinguish four phases

in the co-operation with Mediterranean countries.

Cooperation with the Mediterranean countries started at the beginning of the

1960s, following a case-by-case approach where there was a limited

association with Tunisia and Morocco but aid was very limited up to 1979.22

The second phase began with the “Global Mediterranean Policy” adopted in

the 1972 European Council in Paris, which provided a broader policy

framework dealing with aid and trade.23 The third phase began with the “New

Mediterranean Policy” initiated in 1989 after the second Community

21
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Development
Cooperations: Efforts and Policies of he members of the Development Assistance
Committee, (Paris: OECD, Several Years).
22
Paul Hoebink, The Coherence of EU Policies: Perspectives from the North and the
South, Commissioned Study: Ref: RO2CS007 (Brussels: Centre for International
Development Issues Njimegen, 2005), p. 25-26.
23
Ibid, p.26.

16
Enlargement, which included Spain, Portugal and Greece.24 This programme

sought to address challenges to growth and development in the region such as

youth unemployment, growing poverty, market structures through diverse

strategies and increasing aid flows. 25

It is undoubtedly the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

(‘Barcelona Process’) in 1995, which marks the resurgence of cooperation

with Mediterranean countries. It was launched at a time of great optimism

over the future of the southern Mediterranean, largely due to the prospects of

the Oslo Accords. This Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP henceforth) is

the general framework established for relations between the European Union

and the 12 countries situated on the south and eastern shores of the Mare

Nostrum: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco,

Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority.26 It was the result of the

EU’s decision to develop a deeper relationship with the Southern rim. This

was mainly due to geo-political an economic factors and was accentuated by

the growth of Islamic extremism and the numerous internal and external

conflicts in the region which pose a threat to European security. 27

The core document of this partnership is the Barcelona Declaration, a result of

the Barcelona conference in 1995 and which is an executive agreement

24
Ibid.
25
Ibid, p.25.
26
Eric Philippart, The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Unique Features, First
Results and Future Challenges, p.1.
27
Patrick Holden, «The European Union's MEDA Aid Programme: What kind of
development partnership?,» European Development Policy Study Group, ed.
European Development Policy Study Group, 2003, http://www.edpsg.org/index.pl
(accessed 24th August 2010), p.7.

17
launching a triple partnership.28 This triple partnership comprises the so-called

three baskets of cooperation: political and security cooperation so as to

establish “a common area of peace and stability”; an economic and financial

partnership to “create an area of shared prosperity” through the establishment

of a free trade area; and a social and cultural partnership dedicated to human

resources development, better understanding between cultures and exchanges

between civil societies.29

It was with the funds channelled from through the MEDA programme that the

European Commission was set responsible for the implementation of these

strategic objectives.

The focus of European foreign aid on neighbouring middle-income countries

makes it hard to deny that it is at least partly motivated by EU interests in the

region and it seeks to promote its own agenda, albeit the altruistic component

inherent to aid. It is an agenda with neo liberal components and the aid and the

other socioeconomic measures of the programme are used to intervene in the

political economies of the partner countries and serve as a power projection

for the EU. Even the use of a language of “partnership” has been highly

criticised.30 This rhetoric has risen as a result of the intense criticisms

development policies from international organizations have received and it

28
Eric Philippart, The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Unique Features, First
Results and Future Challenges, p.1.
29
Patrick Holden, «The European Union's MEDA Aid Programme: What kind of
development partnership?,» p. 8.
30
See for example: Patrick Holden, «The European Union's MEDA Aid Programme:
What kind of development partnership?,» European Development Policy Study
Group, ed. European Development Policy Study Group, 2003,
http://www.edpsg.org/index.pl (accessed 24 August 2010).

18
portrays a more cooperative relationship based on the principles of mutuality

and equality.31 The term “partnership” indeed entails good intentions of closer

collaboration with the recipients as well as positive connotations. However,

the relationship through the EMP is not one of equality, especially as the

enthusiasm for cooperation stems from the asymmetric relationship between

the EU and its Southern neighbours. The criticisms to contemporary aid

partnerships will not be covered in this paper.32 Anyhow, the will illustrate the

incoherence of EU policy. These kinds of aid programmes are sold under the

pretext of maintaining an equal status quo which is certainly not equal and

which portrays the asymmetry of dependence and power distribution among

parties. 33

1.3 General Criticisms to EC Aid

It is precisely this type of arguments that have been put forward by some

European member states to criticise both the motives and the means of the aid

channelled through the European Commission. A representative comment was

made by the UK International Development Minister Clare Short in 2000, who

referred to the European Commission as the “worst development agency in the

world”.34 Reports since then show that the track record of the EC has

31
Patrick Holden, «The European Union's MEDA Aid Programme: What kind of
development partnership?», p.1.
32
See for example: Nils-Sjard Schulz, Why the EU is not yet a mature development
partner, Policy Brief (Madrid: FRIDE, February 2010).
33
George Howard Joffé cited in: Eric Philippart, The Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership, p.6.
34
Clare Short cited in: Open Europe, EU aid: is it effective?, p. 4.

19
improved, especially since the 2000 reforms 35, but the dissatisfaction from

members is still latent. EC aid is still seen as lacking a poverty-focus, having

slow delivery, being highly bureaucratic, too attached to European foreign

policy and in general inferior to aid from Scandinavian, British and Dutch

members. I intend to briefly review the critiques from members to then see if

they coincide with the flaws of MEDA that will become apparent in the

subsequent evaluation of the programme.

The earlier section already discussed the concentration of European Union aid

on the Mediterranean region but it is still worth looking at some numbers to

understand the general claims of lack of poverty focus. The EC Donor Atlas of

2006 shows how, in 2004 three of the five countries that receive most of the

European Commissions aid are middle-income neighbouring countries of the

EU: Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey and Morocco.36 Although 90.8% of

Nigerian citizens live under the $2 a day poverty line, they receive 18 times

less aid than Jordanians, where 88.3 % of the population live above that

poverty line. 37 It is thus hard to deny that the EU has prioritised regional

security above global poverty reduction with its aid allocation. Furthermore,

European aid is not only not spent on low-income countries, it also does not

seem to be effective in targeting poverty within developing countries. Reports

examining the contribution of the EU to the implementation of the Millennium

Development Goals (MDG) show that allocations to key MDG sectors such as

35
Department for International Development, «Eliminating World Poverty: Making
Governance Work for the Poor,» White Paper on Development (London, 2006),
p.115.
36
European Commission, EU Donor Atlas, (Brussels: European Commission, 2006),
p.27.
37
Open Europe, EU aid: is it effective?, p.19.

20
hunger, basic health, education, environment and gender equality have

decreased.38 In general, the EC assistance seemed to have a limited impact on

the poverty alleviation of countries aided. 39

The second problem member states attribute to the EU development policies is

related to its cumbersome bureaucracy. The multiple layers for policy-making,

programming and implementation result in a very slow delivery of its aid.

Despite the 2000 reforms, only 24% of EC aid is delivered according to

schedule.40 More specifically, 2006 report by Save the Children finds that 40%

of delays in EC aid are due to its own administrative process.41 Programmes

with a procurement component such as MEDA are more likely to experience

delays. 42 This has given rise to more radical critiques from academics like

Carlos Santiso, who refers to the administration process as “the inner

workings of a Byzantine bureaucracy with a procedure-driven ethos”.43

There is a lack of empirical research comparing the performance and quality

of aid provided by the Commission and member states. However, countries

like the Netherlands, the UK and the Scandinavian countries seem to carry out

38
Alliance2015, The EU's Contribution to the Millennium Development Goals:
Keeping the Goals Alive, 2015-Watch (Brussels: Alliance2015, 2010), p.22-23.
39
Alliance2015, The Millennium Development Goals: A Comparative Performance
of Six EU Member States and the EC Aid Programme, 2015-Watch (Brussels:
Alliance2015, 2005), p.36.
40
Oxfam International, «Paying the Price: Why Rich Countries Must Invest Now in a
War On Poverty,» (Oxford, 2005). Oxfam International, «Paying the Price: Why Rich
Countries Must Invest Now in a War On Poverty,» (Oxford, 2005).
41
Save the Children, «The Role of Donors in Creating Aid Volatility and How to
Reduce it,» Final Report with Additional Programme Data (London, 2006), p.29.
42
European Court of Auditors, Special Report 5/2006 (Brussels: ECA, 2006).
43
Carlos Santiso, «Sisyphus in the Castle: Improving European Union Strategies for
Democracy Promotion and Governance Conditionality,» European Journal of
Development Research 15, no. 1 (2003): 1-28, p.2.

21
development policies which are more poverty-targeted, suffer from fewer

delays and are broadly speaking of better quality.44 This has resulted in a lack

of credibility of the EU as a donor. “Better” aid donors are increasingly more

reluctant to allocate aid funds through the EC and this has given rise to a

debate about whether the EC’s role should be limited to co-ordination of

member state procedures rather than acting as a 28th donor.45

Despite the evidence and criticisms, it is worth noting that it is extremely

difficult to evaluate the impact of a donor’s aid destined to the development of

a country. Firstly because of the vast amount of donors present in a specific

country, which make it difficult to attribute the successes and failures.

Secondly because of the contextual factors which play a role in a country’s

prosperity, which means that development effectiveness need not be a direct

consequence of effective aid. In the words of the scholar Roger Riddell:

“Poverty is influenced by a whole range of factors of which aid is only one. If

a country is stable, if it is afflicted by drought, if the country next door has a

problem with malaria, if the price of exports drops dramatically, these all have

a profound effect. To tease out the effect aid has had is very, very difficult.”46

44
Open Europe, EU aid: is it effective?, p.32.
45
For an example of this see: Open Europe, EU aid: is it effective?, Research Ppaer
(London: Open Europe, 2007).
46
Roger Riddell, cited in: Development Policy Forum, Europe's Aid Architecture:
The global financial meltdown crisis and opportunity , Discussion Paper (Friends of
Europe, 2009).

22
II. The recipient: The Mediterranean Partners

I now turn to the recipients of the majority of collective EU foreign aid: the

Mediterranean partners(MED partners hereafter) of the EMP.47 With the

exception of now members of the EU Cyprus and Malta and the special cases

of Israel and Turkey, belong to what is called the Middle East and North

Africa Region (MENA hereafter). They are ranked among middle-income to

lower middle-income economies, whose Gross National Income per capita

ranging between $1000 and $2000 in 2001, excluding Lebanon.48

What is referred to as the MENA region comprises the Arab states in the

Middle East and North Africa region.49 This is a very economically diverse

region, with differences in revenues, countries at different stages of economic

development and different natural resources endowments.50 Nevertheless, it is

linked by a common heritage, a common set of challenges, its dependence on

oil and a characteristic central planning.51

Analysing the MED partners’ role as a recipient and its relationship with the

donor requires an overview of the economic, social and political context of the

47
The MED countries considered in this background section are the 8 countries
MEDA covers: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia.
48
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commission and Mediterranean Countries, Final Report Volume II
(Louvaine-la-neuve: ADE, 2003), p.1.
49
According to the IMF reports the classification of MENA includes: Algeria,
Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania,
Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic,
Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen as well as Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and
West Bank and Gaza.
50
George T. Abed and Hamid R. Davoodi, Challenges of Growth and Globalization
in the Middle East and North Africa, (Washington D.C.: IMF, 2003), sec. Preface.
51
Ibid.

23
region. I will then look at the particular case of Morocco and its

characteristics. This will allow us to understand the challenges to growth and

globalization this country faces as well as the goals of the ODA provided.

From the previous analysis, it seemed clear that the European aid architecture

and its policies have flaws. Nevertheless, it is naïve to assume that Morocco is

the perfect partner, so I will briefly examine the specific problems

development programmes encounter in Morocco.

2.1 The Regional Context: Economic, Political and Social

A comprehensive analysis of the economic context of the MENA region is

given by a 2003 study by the International Monetary Fund.52 It finds that

overall, the MENA region has performed below its potential in the past three

decades.53 Although the region experienced positive development with the

post 1970s oil price increases it has failed to sustain growth rates and it is a

particularly volatile region.54 MENA’s volatility is reflected upon its unstable

real GDP per capita growth rate, its near zero per cent growth rate and its

weak global integration.55

In spite of its geopolitical importance, MENA’s influence in the global system

remains weak.56 The region received only one-third of the Foreign Direct

Investment (FDI) expected for a developing country of a comparable size and

52
Ibid.
53
Ibid.
54
Ibid.
55
Ibid.
56
Ibid.

24
this investment is concentrated in a few countries.57 This is also influenced by

the high costs of setting up a business in the region, which are five times

higher than in East Asia.58 Also trade within and outside the region is very

limited. MENA’s region share of the world export market has halved between

1980 and 2000.59 Moreover, the regions dependence on agricultural and oil

exports, which suffer from intensive price fluctuations, add to the region’s

vulnerability.60

The large and inefficient public sectors typical of this region take its toll on

the economy and it fails to provide with quality services such as infrastructure

and an educational system.61 Moreover it has not succeeded at creating a

properly administered tax and financial systems, so the capacity to channel

savings and consumption into a long-term productive investment has not been

developed.62

Finally, research has shown that the region’s low or often negative growth of

total factor productivity (TFP) has an important impact on the low-growth

performance.63 TFP is the efficiency with which factors of production such as

physical capital and labour are used to generate growth. Countries that have

achieved positive TFP such as Morocco have achieved relatively high growth

57
Ibid, sec. Global integration.
58
Ibid, sec. Large and costly public sectors.
59
Ibid, sec. Global integration.
60
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries,» Final Report (2003), p.1.
61
George T. Abed and Hamid R. Davoodi, Challenges of Growth and Globalization
in the Middle East and North Africa, sec. Large and Costly Public Sectors.
62
Ibid, sec. Large and costly public sectors and Financial Market Development.
63
Ibid, sec. High Population Growth and Low Productivity

25
rates. The requisites for improving TFP are solid and transparent governance,

investment in human capital and a peaceful political environment. 64

Overall the region’s poor economic performance shows a set of common

features among MED partners: low productivity, lagging political and

institutional reforms, large and costly public sectors, inefficient and

inequitable educational system, underdeveloped financial system, lack of

competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, high trade restrictiveness

and inappropriate exchange rate policies.65 These common features were to be

faced by the MEDA programme.

The social context follows a pattern of low growth/ high

unemployment/poverty/migrations. The poor economic performance and the

high population growth worsen the (already chronic) unemployment and

poverty.66 The unemployed are not only the uneducated citizens, but also well-

qualified workers, which the economy fails to absorb.67 The situation is

worsened by the stagnation of income, which leads to an increase in poverty

levels, partly due to the ineffective and limited social protection systems. In

turn, this explains the high level of labour migration particularly to Europe

that contributes to the “brain drain” phenomenon.68

64
Ibid, sec. Factors Affecting the Region’s Performance.
65
Ibid, sec. High population growth and low productivity.
66
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries,» Final Report (2003), p.3.
67
Ibid.
68
Ibid.

26
The high population growth of the region and the low dependency ratio also

present an opportunity for growth, which has been termed “demographic gift”.

The reasoning behind this is that, given that in the majority of countries in the

region over two-thirds of the population is under thirty years of age, ensuring

employment would lead to growth through an increase productivity and

consumption.69

All in all, the region performs poorly in civil and political freedoms gender

quality and opportunities for the full development of human capabilities and

knowledge.70

Finally, the political context is dominated by political fragmentation,

recurring conflicts and authoritarian rule. Morocco has been a type of rentier

state in that the economy has been dominated by the economic elites and their

vested interests.71 Such governance and the instability it entails does not

provide the appropriate environment for the economy to become open and the

government to revitalize the private sector as the EMP calls for.72 The figure

below illustrates the region’s characteristics in terms of governance and

institutions, voice and accountability, regulatory quality and control for

corruption.

69
J. Williamson and T. Yousef, «Demographic Transitions and Economic
Perfromance in the Middle East and North Africa,» in Human Capital: Population
Economics in the Middle East, 16-35 (Cairo: American University of Cairo Press,
2002).
70
UNDP, Arab Human Development Report: Challenges to Human Security in the
Arab Countries, (New York: UNDP, 2009).
71
Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or showcase?, p. 548.
72
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries,», p.5.

27
Figure 2. MENA and Comparators: Governance Indicators, 2002

Source: (Davoodi, Challenges of Growth and Globalization in the Middle East and
North Africa 2003)
Note: Each entry indicates percent of countries worldwide that rate below selected
country or a region for each governance indicator. Higher score for any indicator
shows better governance outcome. Aggregates are simple averages.

28
This image is from 2003, towards the last phase of the MEDA programme. It

portrays how the region fares worse than other developing countries and

emerging economies, even if the world governance indicators are slightly

better than before the start of MEDA.73 Transparency and good governance

are important for high-quality growth. In Morocco’s case, reforms were

initiated in the political sphere, making democracy and human rights part of

the legal texts, and participating in initiatives proposed by international

financial institutions to improve monetary and financial policy transparency.74

Nevertheless, there is still a clear lack of freedom of expression and

association75 and the most recent constitution still leaves the king with

massive powers. The flaws in institutional arrangements persist, as there has

hardly been any improvement in the institutional quality in the past 13 years76

and the Islamist movement has hindered on the efforts of democratization.77

The combination of poor economic performance and social and political

tensions does not provide with the stable climate that the establishment of a

Euro-Mediterranean Partnership needs. It has resulted in Arab countries

suffering from pressures both from within, in the shape of poor economic

performance, social unrest, Arab nationalism and political Islam, and from

73
A. Kraay, and M. Mastruzzi D. Kauffman, Governance Indicators for 1996-2008,
Governance Matters VIII (Washington D.C.: World Bank, 2009).
74
Ibid.
75
Ibid.
76
UNDP, Arab Human Development Report: Challenges to Human Security in the
Arab Countries, (New York: UNDP, 2009), Annex II.
77
Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or showcase?, p. 549.

29
outside, from neoliberal foreign policies pressuring for reforms and

liberalization. This has been described as a “clash of globalizations”.78

However, certain characteristics of the region also showed some potential for

MEDA to succeed in the region. The first one is that there existed an

awareness of the social development needed from most countries, which had

already led some government policies to progressive changes in favour of

modernisation of the economy.79 Other features such as the rents available

from oil exports and other hydrocarbons, the large share of young population

and the geographical closeness to European markets could contribute to a

successful achievement of MEDA’s objectives.80

2.2 Recipient’s interests

From the previous sections we have come to understand the different interests

the EU has to engage in cooperation agreements with the Southern members. I

have also examined the different factors that hinder on the development of the

region. I will now look at some of Morocco’s main motives for engaging in

development programmes with the EU. These are to do with: historical

relations, trade issues, fisheries and migration.

78
Clement Henry, «A Clash of Globalizations: Obstacles to Development in the
Middle East,» Harvard International Review, Spring 2003: 60-64.
79
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries,», p.3.
80
Ibid, p.2.

30
The country has first of all, a long history of relations with the EU: Spanish

and French protectorate until 1956, engaged in contractual frameworks with

the European Community through the Cooperation Agreement (1976),

Financial Protocols (1977-1991) and the Association Agreement (1996).81 It

even tried to apply for membership to the EU in 1987.82 Morocco is to some,

the country best disposed towards relations with the EU.83 It is, after all, the

first country in the Southern Mediterranean region that has been granted the

advanced status for relations with the 27 EU members since 2008.84

Furthermore, with 1181.3 million Euros it has been one of the biggest

beneficiaries of MEDA.85

Moroccan dependence on the EU is best understood when looking at trade

patterns. The EU is Morocco’s biggest trading partner, it buys over 74% of

Moroccan exports and represents 56% of their total imports.86 Entrepreneurs

find that trade liberalisation so far has boosted the Moroccan economy but

there remains a lot to do to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of

Moroccan economy. 87 The EU has supported through MEDA the so-called

“mise à niveau” to ensure compliance with EU and international standards and

81
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on,» Documentos
CIDOB Mediterráneo, June 2008, p. 6.
82
Paul Hoebnik, The Coherence of EU policies, p.42.
83
Michael Emerson, European Neighbourhood Policy Two Years on: Time indeed for
an "ENP Plus", CEPS Policy Brief (Brussels: Center for European Policy Studies,
2007).
84
Kristina Kausch, Morocco's 'Advanced Status': Model or Muddle?, Policy Brief
(Madrid: FRIDE, March 2010).
85
Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or showcase?,p. 555.
Note that this amount refers to commitments and not actual disbursements, which is
much lower.
86
Aline Bouzergan, Statistics in Focus: The European Union and its ten
Mediterranean partner countries: growing links, External Trade Manuscript
(Luxembourg: EUROSTAT, 2007), p.4.
87
Paul Hoebink, The Coherence of EU Policies, p.44.

31
stimulate exports and circumvent non-tariffary protections from the EU.88 At

the same time, Morocco suffers badly from European protectionist policies

initiated by Southern members with similar crops, that impose great tariffs on

Moroccan citrus fruits but also on industrial sectors like textiles, apparel and

footwear. 89 This is worsened by the smuggling of goods to Morocco that

takes place from the “zone-franches” and Spanish enclaves of Melilla and

Ceuta, which suppose a form of unfair competition that undermines the

Moroccan economy.90 Also by the non-reciprocal right that European shipping

lines have for loading and unloading in Moroccan harbours on their way to

Europe.91

Another important dossier in the relationship between Morocco and the EU is

the Fisheries Partnership Agreement. This abusive agreement allows European

(mostly Spanish and Portuguese) vessels to fish in Morocco’s territorial waters

in exchange for financial compensation, instead cooperation for the

development of Moroccan vessels.92 Whilst Morocco lacks the technical

capabilities for large-scale fishing, its waters are subject to overexploitation

and depletion of their stocks. This has given rise to even more political

controversies as European fishing now takes place in Moroccan occupied

Western Sahara waters.93

88
Ibid, p.45-46.
89
Ibid, p.48.
90
Ibid, p.48.
91
Ibid, p.48-49.
92
European Commission, European Commission , 26 de August de 2010,
http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/international/agreements/morocco/index_en.htm
(accessed 20th August 2010).
93
See: Western Sahara Resource Wtch, Fish Elsewhere: Detén la pesca en el Sahara
Occidental ocupado, 30th January 2009,

32
Finally, immigration is certainly one of the most important motives behind EU

cooperation. But it is also important to Moroccans. The bettering of economic

and civil rights through MEDA are expected to contribute to halting migration

and particularly illegal migration.94 However, it also gives the hope to

Moroccans for a facilitation of the process for the migration of qualified

workers.95Migration is perceived as a vital developmental instrument to

alleviate poverty and unemployment, increasing stability and enabling people

to invest.96 However, it is hardly a surprise to find that EU policies are highly

incoherent and more concerned with their own border control than with the

positive impact migration might have in Moroccan economy.

The vulnerability of Morocco to EU policies has been stated. It is the hope for

a bettering of the conditions of certain dossiers such as migration, fisheries,

and trade that make Morocco so keen to engage in relationships with the EU.

2.3. Criticisms to Moroccan implementation

Just like the EU’s implementation of programmes was subject to criticisms

there are internal obstacles towards development in recipient countries as well

that need to be noted.

http://www.fishelsewhere.eu/index.php?cat=154&art=960 (accessed 25th August


2010).
94
Paul Hoebink, The Coherence of EU Policies, p.54.
95
Ibid.
96
Ibid, p.56.

33
In the case of Morocco, Europe is always blamed for its lack of support

towards the development of Moroccan agricultural potential. However, the

lack of a much needed land and general agricultural reform has always

ensured a lack of open competition and hindered on the efficiency of the

agricultural sector.97 The restrictions that also do not allow foreigners to

purchase land are also a great impediment to learning from more innovative

techniques as well as allowing for a diversification of the wheat predominant

crops. 98 Moreover, the malfunctioning agricultural extension services put in

place do not reach the medium-sized farmers willing to invest in agriculture

and that often suffer from inaccessible and imperfect credit markets. 99

The hidden world of Moroccan politics also explains the stalled

implementation of certain measures to achieve the confusing objectives of

policies set by the EC. First of all they put some pressure on the ruling elites

towards the renovation of civil society. Second of all, they were not seen as

truly addressing their needs. They EU has not sought to address these of

internal problems. It has continued to support ruling elites and oppressive

monarchs, merely acting as a “diplomatic sweetener” to the government.100

III. Case study: MEDA in Morocco

97
Ibid, p.47.
98
Ibid.
99
Ibid.
100
Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or showcase?, p.546.

34
Despite the common features among MED partners similarities, the resulting

achievements in social, economic and political fields vary widely from

country to country. As a result, the implementation of the MEDA programme

differs considerably in each Mediterranean partner. I have therefore decided to

focus on the implementation and success of the programme in the Kingdom of

Morocco. As we have seen, this country is extremely dependent the EU and

also its own economic and political difficulties are seen as having a direct

impact on Europe’s security.

I will use the following sections seek to explore a range of aspects of the

MEDA programme in Morocco such as: the basic data of the programme, its

objectives and means, the implementation process and the accomplishments of

the projects implemented.

Throughout this overview of the programme, I seek to highlight the imprecise

objectives of MEDA, its slow implementation, the limited achievements of the

policies in Morocco through the aid provided by the MEDA programme and

how opening the dialogue with our Southern neighbours should not be seen as

and end in itself but as the path to achieve a more secure, fair and sustainable

Mediterranean region. A lot is demanded from EMP partners, supposedly for

their own benefit, yet hardly of the economic aid materialises and the

objectives change constantly. Moreover, it is taken for granted that the

incentives provided will be enough to transform a country and defeat the

35
resistance of regimes deeply established that often violate human rights and

are a long way from being democratic.101

3.1 MEDA: The programme

The legal basis of the programme were initially given by the 1996 MEDA

Regulation (EC/1488/1996) which was replaced in 2000 by the regulation

EC/2698/2000.102 This modification marks the end of the first phase of

MEDA, MEDA I (1994-1999) and the beginning of MEDA II (2000-2006).

For the period of 1994-1999 MEDA was allocated €3,435 million under the

“MEDA I” Council Regulation.103 Fore the period 2000-2006 MEDA II’s

budget was of €5,350 million104. The table below shows the MEDA

commitments per country, which gives a broad idea of the funds allocated and

will allow us to contrast it to the actual ratio of disbursement of funds in the

implementation section.

The MEDA programme was established to replace the Four Financial

Protocols (1979-1995) which were trade agreements that the EU signed with

poor countries, giving them financial support every year. An extensive

comparison between MEDA and the previous cooperation mechanisms is

101
The concession of the “advanced status road map” granted to Morocco has been
highly controversial. Although the country is the most advanced in the region and is
the most keen to EU relations, it is far from being a developed and democratic
society. Even more problematic is the promise of this concession to Tunisia, a
country that is repressive to its citizens and with high deficiencies in human rights.
102
ECORYS-NEI, The Mid-Term Evaluation of MEDA II, Final Report (Rotterdam:
ECORYS-NEI, 2005), p.32.
103
MEDA Team Infromation, From MEDA I to MEDA II: What's New?, EUROMED
Special Feature (Brussels: European Commission, 2001), p.3.
104
Ibid.

36
beyond the scope of this paper. However, the main difference was that MEDA

marked the end of the system of compulsory commitment and disbursement of

the Financial Protocols and introduced conditionality for the allocation of

funds.105 In fact, MEDA was modelled on the PHARE and TACIS programme

for Eastern Europe and ex Soviet block, which were aid instruments to support

transition in post-Communist countries or accession to the EU.106

Figure 3. MEDA commitments per country

Source: (ECORYS-NEI 2005)

The MEDA projects could be of a bilateral or regional nature, although the

majority belonged the former category.Bilateral projects sought to support

different economic sectors towards the creation of a free trade area between

EU and Mediterranean Partners, alleviating the impact of this economic

105
ECORYS-NEI, The Mid-Term Evaluation of MEDA II, p.33.
106
Ibid, p.5.

37
transition.107 These were of five kinds: grants, technical assistance

programmes, structured adjustment facility, risk capital and interest rate

subsidies for European Investment Bank Loans.108 As figure 4 below shows,

European cooperation is focused on promoting economic reform, reforming

institutions and developing the private sector. The social and environmental

support programmes represent EU’s commitment to maintaining social

cohesion in partner countries as outlined by the EMP goals. It has been argued

that were it left to the partner governments the pattern of expenditures would

be different and more focused on job creation and infrastructure support

activities.109

Figure 4. MEDA commitments per sector of intervention in Morocco 1995-2004,

in million Euros

107
European Commission, «Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and MEDA regional
activities,» Euromed Information Notes (Brussels, June 2005, p14.
108
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on», p. 10.
109
Commission Interview, cited in: Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or
showcase? EU aid as a force for change in Morocco, Vol. V, in The European
Mediterranean: The Mediterranean's European Challenges, 541-60 (Malta: EDRC,
2004), p.551.

38
Source: (Natorski 2008, Appendix II)

The regional projects of MEDA aimed to promote a closer integration between

the 35 partners whilst complementing and reinforcing bilateral programmes.110

They sought to tackle common problems among Mediterranean countries

whilst using national complementarities and fostering South-South co-

operation.111

3.2 Objectives of MEDA

Analysing whether MEDA was a success requires us to look at of the

objectives of the programme. This would appear easy, especially as the EC

believes its comparative advantage lies in its capacity to act with a common

110
European Commission, «Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and MEDA regional
activities»,p.16.
111
Ibid.

39
purpose.112 However, the numerous documents that establish the legal

foundations of the MEDA programme, the multilateral and bilateral

agreements and the operational programming documents result in a very low

degree of clarity and congruence on principles, objectives and priorities. 113

The foundations of the MEDA programme are found within various

documents. The main document is the Barcelona Declaration, which governs

the EMP already discussed. However, as it is not a legally binding document,

it is implemented through bilateral Association Agreements with each country.

The Association Agreement with Morocco was signed in 1995 and was in

place since 2000, providing the basic legal foundation for the programme in

Morocco.114 Nevertheless, the implementation of the MEDA programme also

depended on other multilateral agreements part of the broader European

framework such as the Common Strategy on the Mediterranean115 and

regional plans within the EMP framework like the Valencia Action Plan.116 It

was also subject to changes in foreign policy co-operation towards bordering

countries, like the “New Neighbourhood Instrument” established after the

112
European Commission, Anual Report 2006 on the European Community's
Development Policy and the Implementation of External Assistance 2005,
Communication from the European Commission to the Council and the European
Parliament (Brussels: European Commission, 2006), p.5.
113
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on»,p.15
114
ECORYS-NEI, The Mid-Term Evaluation of MEDA II, p.30.
115
«Common Strategy of the European Council of 19 June 2000 on the
Mediterranean Region,» Official Journal of the European Communities, Vol. L 185
(Brussels, 22nd July 2000).
116
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on», p.17.

40
enlargement of the EU in 2004 and which intended to reinforce the Barcelona

process through national action plans.117

The MEDA programme had the overall objective of creating an area of shared

prosperity, in line with the priorities enunciated by the EMP. This economic

and financial partnership had three concrete purposes: establishing a free trade

area between the EU and its Mediterranean partners and amongst the partners

themselves, providing EU financial support for economic transition and

support for the social and economic challenges it creates and increasing the

investment flows to the Mediterranean partners as a result of free trade. 118

However these three clear purposes are then undermined by additional

priorities established by other documents and also changed from MEDA I to

MEDA II. During MEDA I, there were a second set of objective established

by the “Guidelines for Indicative Programmes”. There were also two

additional objectives for the case of Morocco: improving the socioeconomic

balance through rural development, water and social services and support for

the economic transition through budget support and enhancement of the

competitiveness of private sector enterprises.119

117
Saleh M. Nsouli, The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Ten Years On:
Reassessing Readiness and Prospects, Statement at Crans-Montana Forum (IMF,
2006).
118
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on», p.20.
119
«Council Deecission of 6 December 1996 concerning the adoption of guideles for
the indicative programmes concerning financial and technical measures to
accompany the reform of economic and social structures within the framework of the
Euro-Mediterranean partnership (MEDA),» Official Journal of the European
Communities, Vol. L 325 (Brussels, 14 de December de 1996).

41
The beginning of MEDA II witnessed a new set of priorities and objectives for

the programme. The Guidelines were replaced by the Country Strategy Paper

(CSP) and National Indicative Programmes (NIPs). The broader CSP made

support for economic employment growth and for the implementation

Association Agreements its basic priorities.120 CSPs are are highly regarded

within the Commission but their main deficiencies are the lack of an in depth

analysis of their political economy, and the lack of indicators that could serve

to implement conditionality.121 Parallel to CSPs, the NIPs described the

specific projects to be carried out to achieve the broader CSP objectives. The

first Moroccan NIP (2002-2003) aimed to reform public administration, trade

development, human resources development, migration management and

environmental protection. The following Moroccan NIP (2005-2006) focused

on upgrading the economic environment and trade development, improving

the condition of disadvantaged population groups, fighting poverty and other

projects to protect human rights and the environment.122

Added to this, the introduction of the European Neighbouring Policy (ENP) in

2004 intended to deepen the partnership parallel to the EMP. This included

alternative approach to coping with the increasing interdependence between

the EU and its Southern neighbours.123

120
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on», p.19.
121
Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or showcase?,p.558.
122
European Commission, Morocco: Euro-Med Partnership National Indicative
Programme 2005-2006 , (Brussels: European Commission, 2004).
EURO-MED PARTNERSHIP. Morocco. National Indicative Programme
2005-2006; Source: http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/morocco/
csp/nip_05_06_en.pdf (accessed 25 March 2008).
123
European Commission, European Neighbourgood and Partnershio Instrument
2007-2013, Strategy Paper (Brussels: European Commission, 2006), p.5.

42
The general conclusion to be drawn from this is that the changing priorities

and the lack of specific indicators for achievements certainly hindered on

Morocco’s capacity to succeed in the implementation of the reforms required.

MEDA II projects had an improved determinacy and a stronger link between

projects and objectives in comparison to MEDA I, albeit the coherence of

policies was still weak. The CSP and NIPs were background papers rather

than planning documents and there was no clarity in the parameters for the

implementation of the projects: the objectives, the expected results or

performance indicators.124 Since the performance criteria were not

communicated to the partners, they failed to understand the rationale behind

the allocations.125 Furthermore, the MEDA projects were not always

consistent with the general objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

framework.126

A critique also emerges against the specific issues targeted in each country.

Studies have concluded that there has been no intervention in any MED

country that one could dispute did not address a real problem.127 Yet crucial

sectors were ignored. In the case of Morocco trade was not guaranteed the

reciprocity for the free access for Moroccan products as there exists for

industrial foods of European origin.128 Some groups in society such as the

124
ECORYS-NEI, The Mid-Term Evaluation of MEDA II, p.67.
125
Ibid, p.68.
126
Stephan Stetter, cited in Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12
Years on», p.21
127
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries», p.61.
128
Ibid, p.39.

43
female population, those who oppose Islamic fundamentalism and the urban

society saw in the interventions a potential force for development to “live like

Europeans”.129 But such expectations were well above the real progress from

the Partnership agreement.130

Furthermore, these reforms ignore the political reality of Arab countries full of

vested interest and that is in need of deeper reforms than economic

liberalisation. MEDA is after all a neo-liberal intervention to harmonize

regulations and institutional systems of partner countries with the EU

model.131 It intended to lower the role of the state but only as a consequence

from the fall in revenue from tariffs. The main goal was still to make the

environment more appealing to foreign investors, which European technocrats

thought would lower the saving-investment gaps characteristic of developing

countries.132 I perceive that the EMP, and thus MEDA, rejects the one-

dimensional and trade liberalisation focused approach of a neo-liberal logic.

Still, the nature of the intervention imposed to some countries and the

limitations on agricultural trade policies (which are widely known as key to

the economic development of the southern Mediterranean countries) leads me

to think of the MEDA as essentially neo-liberal strategy. Even if not be of the

strictest kind, it contributes to the limited role in helping to reform Morocco

and other Arab countries that do not sympathise with this approach.133

129
Nadia Salah, «Global Euro-mediterranean partnership,» The Journal of North
African Studies 3, no. 2 (1998): 39-46, p.42.
130
Ibid.
131
Patrick Holden, «The European Union's MEDA Aid Programme: What kind of
development partnership?»,p, 10.
132
Ibid.
133
Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or showcase?, p.562-63.

44
3.3 Project Cycle of MEDA

The project cycle is key to understanding the slow and problematic project

implementation. Also, the reforms in the structure of planning and

implementation were one of the main differences between phases I and II of

the MEDA programme. The first phase of the programme encountered several

difficulties during its implementation. It supposed a great change for the

recipient countries, who had had a greater role in setting out their priorities for

funding through the Financial Protocols. The final report on the Evaluation of

the MEDA admits to the difficulties in implementing and taking the lead in

this new form of programming. This is reflected in figure 5 below, which

shows that the total ratio of payments to commitments was below 30%.

Figure 5. MEDA I and II Ratio of Payments to Commitments

Source: (EuroMed Information, EC.)

45
Such a weak performance was the reason for the set out of the second phase of

the programme, which intended to streamline the decision making process

thus increasing the efficiency of its implementation.134 Reports by the

European Commission found that the improved results of this second phase

were “a direct consequence of the structural reforms undertaken by the new

Commission from 2000 onwards”.135 The differences in the programming

documents between MEDA I and MEDA II were already outlined in the

subsection of MEDA objectives.

Under MEDA II more projects were actually carried out and the process is

considered to have been more efficient. Still, the project cycle under MEDA II

depicted in figure 6 below shows the extensive consultation process which

involves four entities in the overall management of MEDA projects: local

authorities, the project contractor, the EC Delegation and the EC headquarters

in Brussels.

The local authorities intervened in the design of the projects to ensure that

there is a common view between locals and the EC on the achievements and

how these should happen.136 Locals were given a very limited role in the

implementation and payments of projects but still depended on the prior

approval of the EC for the annual Work Plan and for the remittance of

134
ECORYS-NEI, The Mid-Term Evaluation of MEDA II, p.32.
135
European Commission, «Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and MEDA regional
activities» ,p.17.
136
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries», p.40.

46
payments.137 This need for constant on authorization is often the most

contentious and delay-causing issue.138Despite their involvement, local

authorities were sometimes not really interested in achieving the objectives

agreed upon the Financial Agreements, this again suggests the lack of

coherence between local needs and European projects.139

The second group involved in the project cycle are the contractors, companies

that will ensure the implementation of the projects. Usually small projects

were directly contracted through companies but larger projects implied two

levels of contractors and the establishment of a Project Management Unit.140

Intermediating between local authorities or project team leaders and EC

headquarters were the EC Delegations in the MED countries.141 They were an

additional step in the decision chain with a limited role that, nevertheless

contributed to the lengthy decision process.

Figure 6. MEDA Project Cycle

137
Ibid.
138
Ibid.
139
Ibid.
140
Ibid, 41.
141
Ibid.

47
Source: EuropeAid

Finally, the EC headquarters in Brussels were responsible for the important

decisions regarding management of the projects. This is where the

bureaucratic procedures from the EC structure already covered came into play.

Aside from the procedures and decision levels, the volume of aid managed per

staff member is said to be higher than in other organizations, there is a lack of

information on regional projects and other bilateral projects. When evaluating

the economic cooperation between the EC and MED countries, project

beneficiaries and team leaders complained the most about this sort of

48
procedures and the lengthy duration of the decision process. 142

All in all, the estimated project cycle of MEDA was between three and four an

a half years. Such a lengthy procedure and the gradual impact of the reforms

on a country explain why, even 15 years after the beginning of the MEDA

programme it is still too early to evaluate its overall impact. It is however

descriptive enough to understand the limited achievements of the programme

and the reluctance of partners to participate. The process of implementation is

hampered by this slow project cycle but also by the role of Member States in

the MED Committee that attempt to use the programme and the conditionality

imposed as a political tool. The programme was designed to ensure that funds

would flow according to the country’s progress towards structural reforms.143

Though this is a potentially positive tool, the legal criteria were too vague and

the EU’s resources to monitor compliance too scarce. When recipients failed

to understand the logic to the rewards, conditionality failed. This appears to be

the case with MEDA. 144

3.4 MEDA initiatives in Morocco

So far we have seen the description of the MEDA programme, the changing

objectives and priorities of MEDA and the slow process of deliberation and

implementation of the EC. It is thus not surprising that there is a general

agreement that the EMP has failed to meet the objectives enshrined in the

142
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries»,p.41.
143
Patrick Holden, Strategic intervention or showcase?,p.553.
144
Ibid, p.556.

49
Barcelona Declaration. There is a large empirical gap in the evaluation of the

efficiency of MEDA’s financial instruments, partly due to the enormous

difficulties in obtaining reliable data.145 Thus I turn to illustrating with

concrete examples of policies and their outcomes to finish the assessment of

the programme.146 I will then look at these outcomes in the contextual

framework of Morocco.

3.4.1 Assessment of Policies

The initiatives through the MEDA programme to achieve the EC’s political,

economic and social objectives included three areas of intervention:

strengthening the economic and institutional environment, private sector

development and the facilitation of trade.

Strengthening the economic and institutional environment

The MEDA programme introduced different types of measures from laws and

regulations to public services and infrastructures under the control of the

government. These aimed to favour changes towards a market economy

dominated by private enterprises and open to foreign economic relations.

These sorts of measures were of two kinds: direct financial transfers

145
For more on this see: A. Mañé and I. Maestro, «Financiación Euromediterránea.
¿Es posible una alternativa?,» Documentos CIDOB Diálogos Mediterráneos, 2001.
146
MEDA figures, “Euro-Mediterranean Information System on knowhow in the
Water sector”, SEMIDE, 16/01/2006.

50
(structural adjustment facilities) and technical assistance projects in support of

government agencies.147

Structural adjustment facilities (SAF) entail direct payments to the budget

of the partner countries. They were the major instruments used but they

remained conditional on the implementation of reforms negotiated with the

partner country government and coordinated with the Bretton Woods

institutions.148 Between the years of 1995-1999 Morocco benefited from the

Structural Adjustment Facility I, which had commitments of over 120 million

Euros. The reforms encompassed a large variety of measures related to the

objectives of economic co-operation such as: design of an economic and social

medium-term strategy, improvement of public resources management, reform

of the financial sector and fight against poverty. The evaluation of these

measures in 1999 remarked that there had been significant progress towards

liberalising and regulating the economy, that restoration of balance between

the public and private sectors had been initiated but that redistribution of

sending in favour of targeted populations had encountered the most

difficulties. The SAF was the only project that was fully executed during

MEDA I in Morocco.149

The external evaluation of the MEDA programme commissioned by the EC

concluded the results had been impressive as it had encouraged the Moroccan

government to focus on its macroeconomic policies and had resulted in great

147
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries»,p.22.
148
The term Bretton Woods refers the International Monetary Fund and the IMF.
149
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on», p. 34.

51
changes in the institutional landscape of some economic sectors.150 Such

positive outcomes meant that 60% of MEDA II funds to Morocco would also

take the form of SAFs, amounting to almost 567 million.151 In reality, it is

hard to see how the EC came to these conclusions. It is difficult to measure the

actual impact of these funds and there is not much information about how the

funds were used by Moroccan authorities.152 Other independent evaluations

have remained more sceptical about the real impact of these reforms,

observing that the projects simply bought reforms, that this was not in line

with the Barcelona declaration objectives and the support was not

proportionate to the social costs of the reforms.153

The technical assistance projects focused on restructuring and privatising

state-owned enterprises (SOEs) or strengthening public administrations.

Morocco was allocated a budget of 10 million Euros for this former.154 But

privatisation in Morocco suffered from delays. It only began in 2002 and in a

pre-election context that refrained the government from undertaking any major

privatisation operation.155 This illustrates the sensitivity of privatisation in

these countries where SOEs are dominated by vested interests of the ruling

elites and also have heavy social consequences when they imply lay-offs that

contribute to the chronic unemployment. Major decisions of privatisation were

given to high-level political bodies but the funds are given to the ministerial

150
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries»,Apendix 7, p.17.
151
Michal Natorski, «The Meda Programme in Morocco 12 Years on», p. 35.
152
Ibid.
153
Ibid, p.34.
154
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation»,p 26.
155
Ibid, p.26.

52
departments. This held down the implementation process and hinders on the

possibility of creating a privatisation programme. The main project of this

time period in the Moroccan context for the support in the institutional

environment was the “impact study of the free-trade zone”.156 It attempts to

develop the capacity of the Moroccan government to analyse the strengths and

weaknesses of the economy whilst analysing the potential impact of free trade

on the economy. Again, this project was delayed and did not start until 2002.

More successful was the the infrastructure project of the ‘Mediterranean

Rocade’ joining Tanger to the Algerian border.157 The financing was agreed

upon on in December 1999 but the road has still not been completed.158The

mid-term evaluation of the MEDA programme recognised the limitations of

technical assistance programmes and suggested addressing the barriers to their

limited effectiveness.159

Overall, the SAF projects were more successful than those of technical

assistance. Although they did not achieve all their objectives they did

contribute to the liberalization of the economy and improvement of the

regulatory framework. It would have probably been more effective to link

SAF and technical assistance programmes, so that when an SAF was granted,

technical assistance would be provided. However, the EC refused alleging that

156
Ibid, p.57.
157
Ibid, p.29.
158
Royaume du Maroc: Ministère de l’équipement et du transport, La Rocade
Méditerrannée,
http://www.equipementransport.gov.ma/MET_New/Fr/MenuHautPrincipal/Program
mesetprojets/Rocade+M%C3%A9diterran%C3%A9enne.htm (accessed 5 September
2010).
159
ECORYS-NEI, The Mid-Term Evaluation of MEDA II, p.18.

53
this would risk the beneficiary countries to use delays and weaknesses on

technical assistance projects as an excuse not to satisfy the conditions

imposed. Moreover, the evaluation of the SAF interventions of MEDA I

should have been more linked to the preparation of a Free Trade Area.160

Private Sector Development

Different interventions through the MEDA programme sought to promote

activities in support of private enterprises in Morocco. This included direct

support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), projects in support of

quality enhancement, projects related to the development of human resources

and projects related to the financing of enterprises.

Direct support to SMEs was carried out by establishing Business Centres in

the partner countries that would assist: the up-grading process of SMEs, the

development the management skills of entrepreneurs and the provision of

market information and technology. Again, the inefficient internal

organization of these centres and the difficulties to address SMEs’ needs

resulted in very slow developments in Morocco. Evaluations found that often

the consultancy services offered to enterprises by European companies about a

given sector did not know enough about the sector and they did not contribute

to developing a local consultancy capacity.161

160
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic ,», p.48.
161
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries,», p.33.

54
Under MEDA I, one of the most important projects with the purpose of

quality enhancement and compliance with international norms and

standards took place in Morocco. With a budget of 5 million, it sought to

enhance the quality of products of more than 200 Moroccan companies and

foresees technical and financial support. The first attempt to compliance with

the ISO 9000 norm (generic quality management) was unsuccessful. A second

attempt where the project was integrated within the Moroccan administration

is said to have been superior.162

The project to support vocational training in Morocco was also one of the

most ambitious ones. It started in 1999 as a follow up from the assistance

given under previous financial protocols and was allocated a budget of 38

million Euro.163 Various evaluations show that although these were more

demand driven they had certain weaknesses. Mainly due to the lack of a

national policy for vocational training to accompany the project, the limited

involvement of private sector companies in training centres and the fact that

most of the funds were dedicated to up-grading the centres rather than the

actual education of the workers.164

Finally, the European Investment Bank was assigned 45 million Euros to

participate in risk capital operations in Morocco.165 This was supposed to

stimulate the creation of financial institutions and finance the restructuring of

162
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries,» Final Report Volume I (2003).
163
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation » Final Report
(2003), p.51.
164
Ibid, p.35.
165
Ibid, p.36.

55
private enterprises. Funds were to be channelled to SMEs through local banks.

Nevertheless, these interventions were not successful at tackling the

difficulties of accessing credit of SMEs which are related to the limited

number of financial institution and their reluctance to finance SMEs.166

The assessment of these EC interventions in favour of the private sector is not

very encouraging. Again there are limited and indirect indicators to measure

the impact of these reforms. Generally there is a weak increase of the number

of industrial establishment, a modest increase in permanent employment,

stagnation of global industrial exports and towards the entry to a FTA.167 The

implementations have followed a wait-and-see approach and they have been

too focused on the services and industrial sectors, completely neglecting the

effects of entering an FTA to the vital sector of Moroccan economy:

agriculture.168

Trade facilitation

Direct interventions on trade related issues took place within the framework of

regional programmes. Several programmes were launched like the EuroMed

Market project of 2002, which intended to create closer cooperation between

administrations to improve their efficiency and the Investment Promotion

Programme to attract more foreign direct investment. Also the Agadir

166
Ibid, p.53.
167
MWH, ODI, and European Commission DPM, Évaluation de la stratégie pays de
la Commission Européene pour le Maroc, Rapport Final (La Huple: MWH, 2003),
p.25.
168
Ibid.

56
Agreement of 2001 was an important step towards the establishment of a free

trade zone between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.169

Trade with the EU was complemented by SME cooperation projects, which

facilitated business relations between SMEs in Europe and Mediterranean

countries though Med-Partenariat meetings and EU-MED joint ventures.

These modest attempts to facilitate trade have had a very limited impact.

Measures towards liberalisation of trade were included in SAFs but were not

given enough priority. Similarly, the ambitious objective of establishing a

Free Trade Area was not reflected enough in bilateral programmes. It became

more of a priority when Country Strategy Papers were introduced in 2006 and

the Agadir Agreement has been an important step towards it, but the fact

remains that the FTA initially planned for 2010 does not exist. Moreover, the

FTA plan has been superseded by the Greater Arab FTA initiated by GCC

countries. This has generated criticisms towards the EU, which has insisted on

continuing with its FTA plans instead of encouraging the Arab initiative.

Overall, figures show that Morocco has increased its exports by over 14%

from 1995 to 2000 but these were still not diversified enough.170 Its trade

performance its still ranked low in comparison to other low-middle income

169
Agadir Member Countries, The Agadir Agreement: Objectives, 2010 de January de
2010,
http://www.agadiragreement.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=83
&Itemid=89&lang=english (accessed 24 August 2010).
170
ADE-IBM-EPU-NTUA, «Evaluation of Economic Co-operation between the
European Commisson and Mediterranean Countries,» Final Report (2003), p.54.

57
countries and in terms of overall economic freedom it remains labelled

“mostly unfree” by the 2010 Index of Economic freedom.171

3.4.2 The Changing Context

Assessing the success of the different European cooperation measures

introduced through MEDA one is difficult because of the delays and the lack

of concrete data and analysis of the projects. We can therefore look at

different indicators to show the impact of the development policies

implemented on the institutional environment. However, the positive or

negative development of the Moroccan economy need not be a direct

consequence of these policies. I will briefly examine different indicators

within three dimensions of the Moroccan context: political, economic and

social.

The period covered by the MEDA programme witnessed a positive but limited

evolution towards a more democratic political context in Morocco. The

reforms have been important steps towards a decentralisation of public

powers, even if the King Mohammed VI still remains the figure to ensure

national cohesion and sovereignty. This democracy deficit is revealed by again

looking at the World Bank indicators for effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule

of law, control of corruption, voice and accountability and political stability.

From the period of 1996 to 2007, Morocco shows no positive differences in

those indicators but in the categories of Voice and Accountability and Political

171
The Heritage Foundation, 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, 2010,
http://www.heritage.org/index/Ranking.aspx (accessed 5 de September de 2010).

58
Stability with increments of 0.01 and 0.09.172

The evolution of the economy been even less favourable. Macroeconomic

indicators in Morocco show that there was a noticeable progress during the

implementation of MEDA. For example, in the period 1996-2001 since the

implementation of MEDA I, inflation was 6% lower at 2% than in the

previous period current account balances and overall deficits also showed

modest improvements. Economic growth was reflected by a GDP growth of

4.1%, but this still was not enough for the creation of jobs and reducing the

unemployment rates.173 The performance of the economy has been steadier in

recent years and it is true that some structural reforms have aimed to ensure

macroeconomic and financial stability to improve the entrepreneurial

environment. 174

But some of the most persistent problem of the Moroccan economy remain.

The economy is still highly dependant on agriculture, sector that represents 15

to 20% of its GDP. 175 Despite its size, it is still not a competitive agriculture

and it is highly vulnerable to droughts.176 On the other hand, non-agricultural

activity witnessed an annual growth of 3.5% approximately, mostly due to the

50% increase of tourism between 1996-2000.177 But this sector has the

172
UNDP, Arab Human Development Report: Challenges to Human Security in the
Arab Countries, (New York: UNDP, 2009), Annex II.
173
Morocco country profile
174
Morocco country profile.
175
MWH, ODI, and European Commission DPM, Évaluation de la stratégie pays de
la Commission Européene pour le Maroc, Rapport Final (La Huple: MWH, 2003),
p.16.
176
Ibid.
177
Ibid.

59
potential to be a lot more profitable and its full potential is far from being

realised.

Overall, the Moroccan economy still lacks a degree of dynamism and its

growth is impaired by the lack of a large private sector that could drive the

growth of the economy.178 Unemployment is estimated at around 10% and the

labour market rigidity continues to discourage employment growth.179 Around

50% of the population above the age of 15 are illiterate and this rate is even

higher among women.

The social context has been marked by high increases in population,

accompanied by growth of the urban population. Still, a great part of the

population still remains rural and dependent on the underdeveloped

agricultural sector. This dependence results in a strong relationship between

the agricultural revenues and population living in poverty so that the number

is said to increase by 2 or more when the climate is not favourable.180 The

Moroccan population suffers from large disparities among rural and urban

populations and even within metropolitan areas; there is a large cleavage

between the centre and the outskirts.181 In general, the social coverage for the

poor remains small. Although the government has declared its intention to

develop it, social security still only covers 21% of the active population and

178
MWH, ODI, and European Commission DPM, Évaluation de la stratégie pays de
la Commission Européene pour le Maroc, Rapport Final (La Huple: MWH, 2003).
179
The Heritage Foundation, Morocco information on Economic Freedom, 2010,
http://www.heritage.org/index/Country/Morocco (accessed 5 September 2010).
180
MWH, ODI, and European Commission DPM, Évaluation de la stratégie pays de
la Commission Européene pour le Maroc, p.16.
181
Ibid.

60
the impact of other social services is of a similar size and mostly only benefits

the urban population.182

This adverse environment is not exclusive to Morocco but is of a more

regional nature. Towards the end of the MEDA programme, the Arab

development crisis has deepened. This is reflected in the UNDP 2004 Arab

Human Development Report, which highlighted “the acute deficit of freedom

and good governance in the Arab world as the most stubborn of all the

impediments to an Arab renaissance”.183 Needless to say, the ongoing

occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel the US-led occupation of Iraq

and the “war on terror” have adversely influenced the levels of security and

well-being of the region.184

Conclusion

Throughout this paper, I have attempted to evaluate if MEDA was a successful

programme in Morocco or if it failed as a consequence of the EC’s

weaknesses as a donor. Analysing this is a complex task; there is little

academic research on the programme, a lack of transparent and reliable

empirical data and the slow implementation of MEDA projects make its

evaluation difficult. Moreover, it is wrong to assume that a country’s progress

towards development is due solely to the specific schemes undertaken.

182
Ibid,18.
183
UNDP, Arab Human Development Report 2004: Towards Freedom in hte Arab
World, (New York: UNDP, 2005), p.5.
184
Haizam Amirah Fernández & Richard Youngs, The Barcelona Process: An
Assessment of a Decade of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, (Madrid: Real
Instituto Elcano, 2005), p.2.

61
Both the motives and the means of the EC for delivering aid are frown upon

by some donors, albeit the Commission’s development co-operation has

certainly improved since the internal reforms in 2000. The EC is accused of

using aid as a power projection tool, focusing on neighbouring middle-income

countries and using conditionality to grant funds. Thus undermining the

development focus of its aid programmes. The means are characterized by a

tortuous administrative system, which, as shown, accounts for 40% of the

delays in the aid delivery.

The failures of MEDA are indeed influenced by these caveats, which result in

a slow implementation, low coherence and determinacy of objectives and

projects that disregard the central needs of a country. This was demonstrated

in the case of Morocco, the Mediterranean country most receptive to EU

proposals. The overview of some specific policies introduced through MEDA,

as part of the financial cooperation basket of the EPM, to strengthen the

economic environment, aid the private sector and facilitate trade demonstrated

the limited achievements of the reforms.

All in all, the EU has created and opened numerous channels for dialogue and

cooperation with the Mediterranean neighbours, which get re-baptised every

so often to gain momentum. By reading the EU’s evaluation reports of their

projects they seem satisfied with the small advancements achieved in

Morocco. Thereby ignoring that the inequality breach with our Southern

neighbour increases, that violence in the region is all too common, that the

Israel-Palestine conflict has major negative spillovers on all other regional

negotiations and that more than carrots are needed to change the basis of a

system created for the exclusive benefit of the ruling regime.

62
It seems to me clear that Europe should recognise and address the increasing

interdependence between the EU and its neighbours in terms of stability,

security and sustainable development and address these issues. However, the

approach followed so far has been unsuccessful. Not just the eleven years of

MEDA but the almost forty years of Euro-Mediterranean relations since the

Global Mediterranean Policy was signed in 1972.

Such a weak performance makes me quite disillusioned with multilateralism

as a diplomatic tool. The theoretical arguments against these types of

negotiations point to the endless diplomatic formalities, the complexities that

arise from the multiplicity of parties, issues and roles and the ever-present

realist criticism that the self-interest of human nature will undermine

multilateralism.

These flaws are present is this case, even the last one. The EC development

aid through MEDA has defended a discriminatory and European-established

order beneficial to Europe. This has somewhat satisfied the interest of

Southern government parties, but it has definitely not translated into a

significant improvement of the welfare and development their citizens aspire

to. The democracy, human rights and development that Europe advocates for

end up being relegated by the dictates of realpolitik. As a result Morocco’s

true needs are not addressed and its situation has not improved.

Often in contemporary development discourse, the relationship between aid

donor and recipient has been symbolised as being in a car where the donor is

in control in the driving seat and the poor country gets to ride along in the

passenger seat. In the case of Europe’s cruise across the Mediterranean, it

63
seems to me like Europe is definitely the captain of this “Partnership route”

that has been in our interest to draw. This route marks what we think is the

best path towards development for our poor neighbours. They are almost

forced to cruise with us, for the fear of being left out of a relationship with the

region on which they depend the most economically . The prospects of a better

journey through the new European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument

are not very encouraging. Especially when the only outstanding tasks of the

Spanish Presidency of the EU have been the Summit of the Union for the

Mediterranean and the meeting with Egypt.185 Perhaps it is not a bad idea that

the EU acts as a co-ordinator rather than an additional donor, as some have

argued for.186 This might bring us closer to the safe, just and sustainable

Mediterranean region we need and should support.

185
Garrido, D. L. (August/September 2010). Entrevista a Diego López Garrido. 24-
25. (I. E. González, Interviewer) Foreign Policy Edición Española.
186
Open Europe, EU aid: is it effective?, Research Ppaer (London: Open Europe,
2007).

64
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