Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union : History

DMAG: Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries 

The European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries has existed since 1979, the year of the first direct elections to the Parliament.

Since then, the delegation has met regularly with representatives from each of the countries within its remit: Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia.

Encounters with Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian representatives have been held regularly since the 1980s. Meetings with Mauritania began in 1998, while those with Libya were launched in 2002.

Meetings with delegations from the Arab Maghreb Union were held in the early 1990s. Since the sixth meeting in 1994, however, official contacts have been limited between the Union and the European Parliament.

On the other hand, the European Parliament's involvement in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership has expanded steadily.

Work in Brussels and Strasbourg

In addition to these inter-parliamentary meetings, DMAG members have spent significant time in Brussels and Strasbourg investigating the situation in the region and bilateral relations.

Exchanges of views with notable speakers - senior staff from the UN, diplomatic services, non-government organisations, academia, the European External Action Service and other stakeholders - are organised at every meeting.

DMAG meetings also consider issues of mutual interest, such as bilateral association agreements, human rights and political reforms.

Parliamentary aspects of bilateral relations

While the European Commission regularly interacts with Maghreb governments, the European Parliament focuses on the parliamentary aspects of bilateral relations. The Parliament works particularly to
  • encourage parliamentarians to meet and share their experience, and
  • reach out to all citizens, particularly to civil society, in the Mediterranean partner countries.

This focus helps the southern Mediterranean countries strengthen their own parliamentary practices.

Parliamentarians from these countries come into direct contact with their European counterparts, from both national parliaments and the European Parliament.

This work contributes to the European Union's foreign policy objectives, including by strengthening human rights and democratic processes, as well as by establishing a long-lasting rapport among the representatives of the different countries.

Morocco and Tunisia

Parliamentary relations with Morocco and Tunisia are of peculiar importance.

The two formal inter-parliamentary forums that bring together MEPs and Moroccan and Tunisian parliamentarians - the EU-Morocco and the EU-Tunisia Joint Parliamentary Committees (JPCs) - were created in 2010 and in 2016 respectively.

In 2014 the EU-Morocco Joint Parliamentary Committee produced a resolution on improving bilateral relations that was addressed to the speakers of both parliaments as well as to the EU and Morocco's representatives for foreign policy.

Delegation bureau

The Delegation's bureau - composed of its chair and two vice-chairs - was unanimously elected at the start of the European Parliament's eighth legislative term, in 2014.

The chair of the Delegation, MEP Pier-Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), announced his intention to resign from his duties after being elected Chair of the European Parliament's Sub-Committee on Human Rights.

He was replaced by MEP Inès Ayala Sender (S&D, ES), who was elected on 9 February 2017.

The Delegation's two vice-chairs are MEPs Ms Tokia Saïfi (EPP, FR) and Teresa Jimenez Barbat (ALDE, ES).