Moroccan-Spanish relations from above and below (1990 – 2012)

Fatmi, Abdessamad
Moroccan-Spanish relations from above and below (1990 – 2012). PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This study sets out to analyse the dynamics and complexities of Moroccan-Spanish relations “from above and from below” over a period of 22 years (1990 to 2012) by exploring the impact of the supra-state (EU) and the sub-state (Catalan) entities on the bilateral relationship. While the Rabat-Madrid nexus is the main focus, the thesis also surveys Moroccan-EU and Moroccan-Catalan relations, focusing on economic, migration and cooperation policy areas where Spain, the EU and Catalonia have shared but varying degrees of competence. The investigation seeks to examine whether the complexity of relations and actors turn out to be beneficial or detrimental to the Rabat-Madrid bilateral ties, and strives to produce a theoretically informed investigation by framing the dynamics of this complex relationship in theoretical terms. Multi-level governance, Europeanization, Complex Interdependence and Omnibalancing are the main theoretical frameworks discussed. With regard to the central relationship (Moroccan-Spanish relations), the research highlights its complex, multifaceted and cyclical nature. It underlines some of the structural problems plaguing the bilateral ties such as the dissimilar political systems, the territorial squabbles, economic interests and disparities, migration and security challenges, and the negative public opinion; and it also points to the flourishing web of interdependencies forcing the two neighbours to cooperate such as the intensifying economic, political, and social issues. As to Morocco-EU relations, it transpires that Madrid looms relatively large in most EUMoroccan ties, especially in economic (fisheries and agricultural) and migration issues. Brussels also plays an on-going structural role allowing Madrid to de-problematize some of its dealings with Rabat, by providing resources and a platform allowing Rabat and Madrid to focus on more constructive issues. Importance of Moroccan-Catalan relations is illustrated by the large proportion of Moroccan immigrants living in the autonomous region and the sustained economic and official relations between Barcelona and Rabat. Although Catalonia has its own priorities linked to its economic interests, identity, security, international prestige, and influence in Spanish politics, Barcelona’s impact on Rabat-Madrid relations has mainly been positive, if not complementary. The research also highlights the lingering and potential structural problems in the inter-state bilateral relationship including territorial issues, economic interests and disparities, security challenges, negative perceptions, etc. However, it concludes that the proliferation of actors and the diversification of interests has largely generated a shield of common interdependencies that mitigate tensions and prevent potential conflicts. The thesis argues, therefore, for Complex Interdependence as a fairly satisfactory theoretical base, albeit with limitations. The theory has the potential to frame the dynamics of this complex relationship where increased interdependencies seems to create a buffer of common interests withstanding conflict. Within this framework, the EU and Catalonia can be perceived as external actors and contact channels, largely facilitating relations and alleviating tensions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2013-07 (completed)
Subjects: ?? JZ ??
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2014 11:28
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:40
DOI: 10.17638/00014075