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Morocco pledges help for expat community.

Summary: Integration into Western societies is no longer a problem for Moroccans living abroad (MREs), according to Migration Minister Anis Birou. The focus now is on strengthening their ties to the kingdom.

Speaking August 10th in Rabat at an event marking National Migrant Day, the minister noted the "services this generation of immigrants has rendered to Morocco".

"We have decided to pay tribute to the first generation of Moroccan citizens living abroad, who have endured the hardships of alienation and have overcome the linguistic, cultural, and natural barriers," MoroccoWorldNews quoted Birou as saying.

The government is making great efforts to address the demands of Moroccans living abroad, the minister said.

As part of the annual celebration of MREs, the ministry also organised its sixth "Summer University".

More than 200 Moroccan expats between 18-25 years of age benefited from the initiative in Casablanca, Agadir and Tetouan.

The August 2nd-13th event aimed to reinforce cultural, religious and linguistic links between the Moroccan diaspora and the kingdom.

Language and culture were on the training menu, in addition to debates and conferences. Participants also benefited from cultural visits, talks on the economy, crafts and other artistic activities.

MREs are hoping that the government will pay particular attention to employment, both for those who find themselves in difficulty in host countries and those who wish to invest in Morocco.

Brahim Chahli, who lives in Spain, told Magharebia that he would really like to start a business in Morocco.

According to Chahli, a one-stop office needs to be created for overseas Moroccan investors, in order to the large number of intermediaries.

Overseas Moroccans are citizens with full rights, and the government is willing to offer them as much support as it can, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane said.

But as sociologist Anas Chandouli noted, the MRE community, which has grown to 5 million, has changed considerably in recent years.

As a result, "new policies that are in step with the changing expectations and aspirations of overseas Moroccans, especially the new generation, need to be implemented", he said.

With this in mind, Migration Minister Birou said that his department had adopted an outreach policy for the Moroccan diaspora.

In addition to their socio-economic grievances, Moroccan expats are also hoping to be represented in elected bodies in their home country, chief among them the Chamber of Representatives.

Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) chief Driss Lachguer has called for MREs to be allocated thirty seats in parliament.

A guarantee that the Moroccan diaspora will be represented in the legislature will enable MREs to play an important role in the promotion of parallel diplomacy, he said.

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Publication:UMCI News (Potomac Falls, VA)
Geographic Code:6MORO
Date:Aug 15, 2014
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