This Study was carried out by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Programme and commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s (hbs) North Africa Office in Rabat. The research process involved carrying out interviews in Berlin and Brussels, as well as phone interviews and requests for information from EU officials in Rabat and from staff of the German Development Agency (GIZ). Moreover, data and documents were gathered about the specific projects financed by the EU and Germany in Morocco.
Cooperation on migration between the EU, its Member States and third countries has proven to be one of the key priorities in European policy making. In the aftermath of the so-called ‘European refugee crisis’, new plans and agreements for such cooperation have emerged. The much-debated and contested EU-Turkey Statement has been a case in point. Recently, the EU support for actors in Libya has also topped the policy debates on irregular migration across the Central Mediterranean.In all these discussions, there has been a surprising lack of attention for what is among the longest standing cooperation with a third county on these matters: the EU-Moroccan cooperation. This cooperation is often either not covered or taken for granted as a success story or ‘model’. A more in-depth account of this cooperation is however needed to understand the assumptions and concrete actions marking it. Moreover, the recent uptick in border crossings at the Moroccan-Spanish land and sea borders has brought the Western Mediterranean Route back into picture. This reflects the event-driven attention of European policy making on migration – often triggered by visible events and incidents at the external borders.
This Study first outlines the general background of EU-Morocco cooperation on migration, borders and asylum in Section 2. In Section 3 the specificities of the German-Moroccan cooperation are presented. Consequently, in Section 4 an overview is given of the migration-related projects financed by Germany in Morocco, followed by an overview of EU funded projects in Section 5. Section 6 then finishes with a number of cross-cutting conclusions.