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A not so Casablanca courtship between Morocco and the EU

April 17, 2009

Play it again, Sam.

I doubt this is the kind of script that would have attracted the inimitable Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, but there has been a slow, steady courtship between Morocco and the EU over the past few years. Morocco actually has aspirations of potentially joining the EU, if not having a more active participation in its governing process.

The states executed an “Action Plan” solidifying their intentions to one another back in February 25, 2004, with a timeframe of 3-5 years depending upon the speed of compliance with the agreement. Given the EU’s steady stream of money laundering directives, it appears Morocco may have just offered a dowry that will make the EU blush.

It has created a “Financial Data Processing Unit,” or UTRF designed to fight money laundering. Specifically, the UTRF will be “responsible for processing and spreading data . . . to guarantee coordination among public institutions, administrations, and legal entities.” Formally, it will be part of the judicial branch. Given the Moroccan Banks’ sustained growth, even in light of the current financial crisis, one has to wonder if an acronym like UTRF might just mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

***Update. See post for 4/23/09 here.


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