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Thursday, 20 October 2022

The EU is bringing Morocco into the fold of the European Green Pact

EU signs “first of its kind” green partnership agreement with Morocco: Morocco and the European Union have agreed to establish a “green partnership,” a move that will see the two sides strengthen cooperation on renewable energy and clean technology. The agreement was signed by European Commission deputy head Frans Timmermans and Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat on Tuesday, and is the first of its kind that the EU has agreed with a partner country, the EU Commission said.

What we know so far: There are few details about what the partnership will entail, but AFP quoted the MoU as saying it will “foster the transition to a decarbonised industry through investment in green technology, renewable energy production, sustainable mobility, and clean production in industry.” It will also include developing joint projects in clean energy, green finance and a circular economy, as well as sharing best practices, Timmermans was quoted in a 2021 EU statement as saying.

The EU is desperate to fulfill its energy needs through MENA: The EU has been scrambling to find new energy supplies from the MENA region to replace Russian oil and gas whose supplies have been heavily curbed on the back of the war in Ukraine. The bloc has been looking to close agreements with gas exporters in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Gulf and North Africa as it faces the loss of most of the 155 bn cubic meters of Russian gas it imported last year as well as Russian crude which it will begin to embargo in December.

And Morocco's ambitious renewables game aims to export energy to Europe: Morocco plans to generate 10.5 GW of solar and wind energy from just its Xlinks renewable energy project by 2030. This far outstrips regional rival Egypt’s Benban solar park’s 1.8 GW. When completed, the project is expected to supply 8% of the UK’s electricity needs by exporting 3.6 GW of electricity.

It will also help the EU import natural gas from Nigeria: Morocco, Nigeria and Ecowas last month signed an MoU to establish a USD 25 bn natural gas pipeline linking the two countries that will enable Nigeria to export gas to West Africa and Western Europe.

The agreement has been in the works for over a year: Morocco and the EU announced their intention to set up a green partnership in 2021.

It expands the approach of the European Green Pact: “The Green Partnership with Morocco will be one of the EU’s first initiatives with a partner country that will aim to advance the external dimension of the European Green [Pact] through action on the ground,” noted the June 2021 EU statement. The pact is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission that aims — among other things — to make the EU climate neutral in 2050.

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