Leapfrogging the EU: Telecommunications Regulation in Morocco

Item Type Book Section
Abstract

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations on a negotiated basis through extending parts of the EU’s acquis communautaire to immediate neighbours. Yet, in order to reach adjustment to its rules and regulations, the EU relies on the third states’ political engagement to introduce internal reforms on the EU model. This chapter zooms into a case of non-compliance, namely Morocco’s refusal to align its universal service obligations (USO) with the EU model.
Universal service obligation is about ensuring that Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) are reasonably accessible to all people in a territory. Since the early 2000s, the EU has tried extending its model to its neighbouring countries in the south, notably through bilateral workshops and multilateral practice-sharing groupings such as the Euro-Mediterranean Group (EMERG) bringing together national regulatory authorities in the field of telecommunications. Yet, Morocco – the largest recipient of EU funds in the framework of the ENP and commonly portrayed as ‘model country’ – did not adopt the EU model; instead, it turned toward Latin American countries and learnt from the Chilean and Peruvian models through membership in international organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and World Bank.
Drawing on theories of emerging power and based on 34 interviews of key experts in the field, we argue that USO, a low politicized sector, presented an ideal opportunity for the Moroccan government to show emancipation from the traditional dominant EU power. Morocco hence developed a model based on competitive allocation (similar to Chile and Peru) and on the use of a variety of technologies (including mobile services) while the EU still defends a model based on direct allocation to the incumbent operator focusing uniquely on fixed lines and functional services. By gearing its USO regulations to the Latin American models, the Moroccan government selected not only the policy solutions that best suited its national context but also leapfrogged what the EU had been doing in the field so far.
Overall, this study presents not only an example of contestation to the transfer of EU policies, it also demonstrates how contestation can be successful in cases where an ENP-country decides to develop its own model inspired by alternatives that are better suited to its problem situation. It thus presents a case for policy learning based on the similarity of conditions rather than the institutionalised commitment to a traditional partner.

Authors Wavre, Veronique & Freyburg, Tina
Editors Del Sarto, Raffaella & Tholens, Simone
Language English
Subjects political science
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SEPS - Global Democratic Governance
Date October 2020
Publisher University of Michigan Press
Place of Publication Ann Arbor
Page Range 94-117
Title of Book Resisting Europe. Practices of Contestation in the Mediterranean Middle East
ISBN 978-0-472-13215-7
Official URL https://www.press.umich.edu/9965409/resisting_euro...
Depositing User PhD Veronique Wavre
Date Deposited 13 Nov 2020 13:29
Last Modified 13 Nov 2020 13:29
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/261448

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Citation

Wavre, Veronique & Freyburg, Tina: Leapfrogging the EU: Telecommunications Regulation in Morocco. In Del Sarto, Raffaella & Tholens, Simone (ed.): Resisting Europe. Practices of Contestation in the Mediterranean Middle East. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 2020, S. 94-117.

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https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/id/eprint/261448
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