It was 50 years ago that Sultan Mohammed returned to Morocco after more than two years in exile, propelling his country into independence from France. He was crowned King Mohammed V and a few months later the independence act was signed. Political leaders from Europe and Africa, including the Spanish and French prime ministers, have attended a ceremony at the Mohammed V Mausoleum in Rabatto mark a half century of Moroccan self-determination.
Addressing his son Mohammed VI, the Spanish premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that strengthening democracy and freedom will always be the best guarantor of obtaining success. “In this,” he added, “the Moroccan nation is and always will be supported by the people and government of their neighbour Spain.”
Morocco is bidding for membership of the EU, with which it conducts most of its trade but there appears to be little enthusiasm for the idea within Europe itself. The EuroMed partnership, which links the EU and Mediterranean countries, is holding its 10th anniversary summit later this month.