The Association of Presidents of the Councils of Prefectures and Provinces of Morocco organised an institutional meeting in Rabat with representatives of the Andalusian Regional Government and the Canary Islands to seek new avenues for decentralised cross-border cooperation between the two parties

Decentralised Cooperation between Morocco and Spain, one of the keys to good territorial governance

Cooperación Descentralizada de las Colectividades Territoriales Marruecos-España
Decentralised Cooperation of Territorial Collectivities Morocco-Spain

In order to improve the momentum of Spanish-Moroccan relations and consolidate mutual understanding, the Moroccan Association of Presidents of the Councils of Prefectures and Provinces (APCPP) organised a workshop on Decentralised Cooperation of Territorial Collectivities on 15 January at the National Library of Morocco. 

  1. Decentralised cooperation: a new partnership approach
  2. Consolidating Spanish-Moroccan relations
  3. Morocco, a partner in continuous development
  4. Fruitful meeting for the southern and northern parts of Morocco
  5. Sharing experience and best practices
  6. Morocco, a new football power
  7. Malaga, the city that cooperates most with its southern neighbour
  8. Memorandum of understanding at municipal level

Decentralised cooperation: a new partnership approach

The Rabat meeting is a very important event for the government authorities of the territorial authorities of both Spain and Morocco, who are interested in sharing experiences and visions of decentralised cooperation based on reciprocal principles of understanding and partnership. 

The main objective of this institutional meeting was to highlight successful experiences in this field and to establish a joint roadmap to promote and strengthen ties between town councils, provincial councils and other local authorities in both countries. 

It is a step that has been preceded by an evaluation of the cooperation programmes led by local governments on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar. These are projects that have materialised, over the years, the efforts and continuous dynamism that relations between Spain and Morocco are experiencing.

Consolidating Spanish-Moroccan relations

The two neighbouring countries have long-standing historical relations that are consolidated thanks to political will and are based on dialogue, mutual respect and the implementation of the commitments and agreements signed. 

Along these lines, Enrique Millo Rocher, Secretary General for External Action, European Union and Cooperation of the Andalusian Regional Government, stated that "the workshop is another step in what has been a very firm strategy of cooperation between Spain and Morocco for many years, especially between Andalusia and Morocco, due to their proximity and common history".

As the workshop participants unanimously affirmed, the new unprecedented stage that Spain and Morocco are going through marks a model of partnership between North and South based on mutual benefit in a context full of regional and international challenges and transformations.

Enrique Millo y Francisco de la Torre
Enrique Millo and Francisco de la Torre

Morocco, a partner in continuous development

"The conference is aimed at working better together, seeking new ways of collaboration, new instruments for financing operations and thus achieving a greater return on this joint work," the Andalusian regional government representative stressed, pointing out that "working together we can surely achieve better results". 

Millo Rocher mentioned, in his statement to the press, that "Rabat in the last ten or fifteen years has experienced a spectacular change, a very important growth, a notable development and an improvement in the quality of life of the people". 

"It is a sign of the work of the government and the work of King Mohammed VI, who is carrying out projects for the benefit of the whole country, as well as for the benefit of the African continent and its relationship with Spain and Europe," he added.  

Of the factors that most encourage this type of meeting, Morocco's position as Spain's leading partner in Africa, with a transaction figure of 16 billion euros. Without losing sight of the different areas of cooperation such as security to confront cross-border terrorism and clandestine migration, according to a statement from the APCPP.

Cooperación Descentralizada de las Colectividades Territoriales Marruecos-España
Decentralised Cooperation of Territorial Collectivities Morocco-Spain

Fruitful meeting for the southern and northern parts of Morocco

In this regard, the president of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of the Councils of Prefectures and Provinces, Abdelaziz Derouiche, stressed that "this meeting will have a positive effect on the southern areas of Morocco close to the Canary Islands on the one hand. On the other hand, it will also have a positive effect on the northern region, which has forged fruitful relations with the Junta de Andalucía".  

This is a study day on decentralisation, with the participation of several heads of prefectures and provincial councils of Morocco, as well as a delegation of representatives of the municipalities of the Canary Islands led by the president of the Canary Islands Federation of Municipalities (FECAM), the mayor of Candelaria, María Concepción Brito. 

Alongside these leaders, a group of specialised professors and academics also took part in the event to discuss the experience of decentralisation in both countries and exchange good practices. Among the topics discussed was "the development of economic and trade relations between the two countries and their impact on territorial development". 

Cooperación Descentralizada de las Colectividades Territoriales Marruecos-España
Decentralised Cooperation of Territorial Collectivities Morocco-Spain

Sharing experience and best practices

Several of the Spanish attendees agreed to offer their experience: "Our task is to share information given the long experience of cross-border cooperation established by Spain and that will be useful to Morocco and of mutual benefit to all". 

Speaking of the strategic partnerships at municipal level between Spain and the Kingdom of Morocco with 25 years of cooperation between the city of Malaga and partner cities in Morocco, Francisco De La Torre, Mayor of Malaga, argued that "decentralised cooperation is important not only for Morocco and Spain, but also for Europe".  

"It is a very suitable path for close neighbouring countries between which there is more and more trade, more investment, more professional framework and more job opportunities," he emphasised in his speech.

Morocco, a new football power

In parallel, on the joint organisation of the 2030 World Cup between Morocco, Spain and Portugal, Francisco De La Torre pointed out that "Morocco is a footballing power and will be ready for the 2030 World Cup thanks to the achievements it has made, from Tangier Med to the different infrastructures that have been developed throughout Moroccan territory".  

Malaga, the city that cooperates most with its southern neighbour

This Spanish-Moroccan institutional meeting was an opportunity to learn about the cooperation programme that Malaga City Council has been leading for more than 20 years, together with Moroccan cities such as Tangier, Tetouan, Al Hoceima and Nador, and which has received financial support from the European Union through cross-border cooperation programmes. 

This type of cooperation, following the example of the city of Malaga with cities in the Kingdom of Morocco, makes it possible to carry out activities in various priority areas for the municipalities, such as improving municipal governance, promoting entrepreneurship and boosting the local economy, and rehabilitating and enhancing the value of architectural heritage.    

The Andalusian Agency for International Development Cooperation has contributed to the creation of a new cross-border cooperation programme that has managed to maintain and develop the ties that link local entities in Andalusia with their Moroccan counterparts, mainly those in the northern region. 

Abdelaziz Derouiche
Abdelaziz Derouiche

Memorandum of understanding at municipal level

The meeting between the presidents of prefectures and municipalities of Morocco and Spain ended with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between representatives of local and regional institutions of both parties.

The aim is to create a suitable framework to develop cooperation work by establishing permanent relations between the Moroccan Territorial Collectivities and the Spanish Communities, to promote local development and to enhance the skills of elected officials and senior executives through the exchange of experiences and knowledge in the field of local management.