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Morocco

Yearbook 2019

Morocco. In January, the European Parliament approved a new trade agreement between Morocco and the EU on trade in agricultural products. According to CountryAAH, the agreement was an attempt to circumvent the decision taken by the European Court of Justice in 2017. It was then established that the EU and Morocco's previous trade agreements were not valid, as it included products from Western Sahara even though Western Sahara was not part of Morocco. According to the media, the new trade agreement between the EU and Morocco contained special additions which meant that products from Western Sahara could also be included in the agreement. Another agreement on fishing was agreed in the European Parliament in February. It included Western Saharan waters and was approved by 415 votes against 189. The European Parliament's decision was condemned by the Western Saharan independence movement Polisario.

2019 Morocco

In March, thousands of teachers demonstrated for better working conditions outside Parliament in the capital, Rabat. Among other things, the teachers wanted pensions like other government employees. A strike was also announced. However, it was canceled after a meeting between officials and the Ministry of Education had been arranged.

In connection with a second meeting with the ministry, which would have been held in April, new protests were canceled and over 70 injured people were taken to hospitals. The conflict affected around 55,000 teachers.

Around 40 activists who participated in the protest movement Al-Hirak al-Shaabi were sentenced in April to prison sentences of up to 20 years.

Later that month, thousands of people gathered in Rabat to protest against the judges. It was in the area around the Rifbergen, where a predominantly Berber population lives, that the protests took off in 2016. The activists have demanded economic and social improvements. Their protests were stopped by the authorities and violent clashes erupted in 2016 and 2017. Between 400 and 500 activists are believed to have been arrested since then. Some of them have been pardoned.

During the year, Morocco came in second on the international emissions change Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI). According to CCPI, Morocco had increased its share of renewable energy over the past five years. Media stated that Morocco was close to reaching the country's target of 42% renewable energy by 2020 and 52% by 2030. These targets have been set by King Muhammad VI, who is also behind the new plant Ouarzazate Solar Power Station. It is located in the Sahara desert and is said to be the world's largest thermal solar power plant. The power plant is expected to supply more than 1 million people with electricity.

In June, Parliament passed a new law that officially gave the Berber language the same status as Arabic. With the new law, which was provisionally confirmed as early as 2011, the Berbers gained important recognition after a long struggle.

In July, King Muhammad VI celebrated 20 years on the throne. Prior to the anniversary, he gave a speech in which he listed successful investments in renewable energy and infrastructure such as highways and highways. At the same time, he regretted that not all social strata had been part of the improvements. In connection with the anniversary, 4,764 prisoners were pardoned.

Three men were sentenced to death in July after admitting the marked murders of two young Scandinavian women in the Atlas Mountains in December last year. The sentence was expected to be converted to life imprisonment since the death penalty has not been enforced in Morocco since 1993. According to the indictment, the main suspected men had moved to an area near the mountain village of Imlil with the aim of killing tourists. In a video posted on social media, the men could be seen swearing the IS terror group. A fourth man, who left the crime scene before the women were attacked, also appeared in the video. He was sentenced in October to the death penalty. In addition, 20 men received between five and 30 years in prison for being included in the same terror cell as the four men.

In connection with the murder, another film was spread on social media. It was a bestial movie that showed parts of the murder of one of the women. In Denmark, several people were convicted of sharing the film online.

In October, a government transformation was made at King Muhammad VI's request. According to the Reuters news agency, the number of ministers was reduced to 23 while several were replaced. According to Reuters, the king sought a new model to combat poverty and regional and social inequalities.

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