Supporting democratic participation beyond democracy promotion? EU Relations with Moroccan and Tunisian civil society in the areas of trade and anti-corruption

By Anna Khakee and Ragnar Weilandt


This contribution examines to what extent the EU includes Moroccan and Tunisian civil society actors in bilateral political processes in the two policy domains of trade liberalization and anti-corruption. It finds that while the EU has strongly committed itself to more such interaction, gaps between its discourses and its practices remain. We observe variance between both sectors and both countries. Civil society is much more substantially included in EU policy processes in Tunisia than in Morocco, which is partly due to the EU’s respect for some of Moroccan government’s red lines. Moreover, the EU tends to be more open towards including civil society on transparency and anti-corruption than on trade. This may at least partly be explained by the fact that EU interests are more aligned with those of civil society on the former than on the latter.