"Advanced Status" for Morocco?
Since I am on the topic of North Africa, a region that occupies an ever-increasing place in France's cultural, economic and strategic projects, let me turn for a moment to Morocco. Last October Nicolas Sarkozy made an official State visit to that country where he followed his usual agenda: business agreements totaling 3 billion dollars, deals to extract uranium, and high hopes for his (now defunct) project called the Mediterranean Union.
Those interested can read this concise article from VOA on the visit.
All of that was not enough, for now King Mohammed VI has requested that Morocco be granted an "advanced status" in the European Union. French Prime Minister François Fillon met with the king last month. This article from Le Figaro dated April 19 gives an account of the trip:
François Fillon paid a visit on Friday (April 18) to Mohammed VI in his royal palace of Ifrane, nestled in the green mountains of the Middle Atlas. A pause in the visit of the Prime Minister to Morocco, the encounter was highly unusual. It allowed François Fillon to reaffirm the importance accorded by France to the request by Morocco for an advanced status in the European Union. The king wants his country to be more than a simple associate member of the EU. The French Foreign Ministry has sent assurances that the issue will be placed among the priorities during the French presidency of the EU that begins in July. "Morocco must progress toward this advanced status to which it is entitled," declared François Fillon, before Friday's meeting, at a dinner in Rabat offered by his Moroccan counterpart Abbas el-Fassi. "Our political exchanges revealed a great convergence of viewpoints," continued the French Prime Minister. (...)
Note: It isn't clear from this article what is meant by "advanced status", or why Morocco would be "entitled" to it. It sounds almost like a step away from full membership. Morocco was at one time a protectorate of France, but was never a full-fledged department.
I wasn't even aware that Morocco was an "associate member" of the EU.
You can read about Morocco at Wikipedia among many websites.
In my web-wanderings I came upon this article from 1999 on the fate of the Jewish community in Morocco. All the more infuriating that Jews who migrate to France from Morocco often become immigrationists, multiculturalists and critics of French "racism."
The photo shows the Hassan II mosque.