Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission
The HR/VP is aware of the situation of women in Morocco including that some women still suffer from cultural and social discrimination. This situation can be addressed through the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures to fight efficiently discrimination against women and to ensure gender equality. The HR/VP is following the developments regarding women rights closely through the EU Delegation in Rabat and concerns on women's rights in the country have been raised at the highest possible level.
The HR/VP considers that Morocco is making general progress towards greater compliance with human rights principles. In particular, the new Constitution includes significant measures with regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms. Further improvements are, however, needed in particular in the area of gender equality and the fight against gender discrimination. The EU expects Morocco to implement fully the principle of parity enshrined in the new Constitution.
Promoting gender equality has been a longstanding priority of the EU's action in Morocco. This issue is explicitly covered in the new EU‑Morocco Action Plan which is currently being negotiated in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The Commission is launching a sector reform programme (covering 2012‑2015) supporting the Government’s Gender Equality Action Plan, to a value of EUR 45 million. The programme will support efforts to combat violence against women, strengthen gender equality in policy-making, and provide capacity building, education and training for legal professionals and women generally on these issues.
The EU seeks to promote gender equality also by proactively supporting civil society initiatives that promote women's rights.